The Siem Reap provincial Forestry Administration on May 17 referred the case of two pieces of impounded machinery to court after conducting an investigation.

The equipment was seized by authorities as it was used to clear state forest land in Trapeang Ruessei village in Svay Leu district’s Boeung Mealea commune.

The district Forestry Administration has not yet identified the owner of the equipment or the person who claimed to own the land.

Provincial Forestry Administration chief Mong Bunlim told The Post on May 17 that officers seized the machinery on May 14 in the village, but the operators fled when they arrived.

“We have given the machinery and land owners 30 days to come forward,” he said.

Svay Leu district Forestry Administration chief Men Vuthy told The Post that the machinery was being retained while police were searching for the owners of the machinery and land.

“As far as we know, the land owner did not encroach on the land but had bought it from someone else because the village chief signed the paperwork. So, having bought the land, the owner cleared it,” he said.

However, Boeung Mealea commune chief Hun Hat told The Post that he was unaware of the signature.