Five Chinese nationals and a Cambodian man were charged on Saturday at the Ratanakkiri Provincial Court for illegally clearing protected forest land in an area known to have gold deposits, a court official and a police officer said yesterday.
Hak Hean, spokesman for the Ratanakkiri provincial prosecutor, said the six men, whom he did not identify, were charged under articles 56 and 62 of the Protected Areas Law “for clearing and bulldozing forest land to occupy”.
Theng Chanthy, the Lumphat district police chief, said that his officers had worked closely with environmental officials to arrest the suspects during a raid on Friday while the six men were bulldozing inside the Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary.
A vehicle and an excavator were confiscated, Chanthy said, and the suspects were held at the district police station before being sent to court on Saturday morning.
Chanthy added that the suspects had already cleared about one hectare of protected land in Chey Uddom commune.