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Task force grills officials over allegations of graft

A tractor used to haul illegal timber by Vietnamese nationals seized in Mondulkiri last month. The case prompted an investigation, with an anti-logging task force questioning officials accused of corruption. Photo supplied
A tractor used to haul illegal timber by Vietnamese nationals seized in Mondulkiri last month. The case prompted an investigation, with an anti-logging task force questioning officials accused of corruption. Photo supplied

Task force grills officials over allegations of graft

Two military commanders, a military police commander and a provincial police chief in Mondulkiri were questioned by the national military police’s anti-logging task force yesterday for their alleged involvement in a Vietnamese timber smuggling operation.

Last week, a National Police report alleged that more than a dozen policemen, soldiers and military police officials in Mondulkiri accepted $170,000 in bribes to facilitate illegal timber exports to Vietnam.

Yesterday, the task force questioned provincial military police commander Sak Sarang, provincial police chief Touch Yun, military commander Khin Meng Sreang and Regiment 103 Border commander Yin Chanty.

“They just questioned us about the case, whether we’re aware of it or not,” Sarang said.

Sarang said he was not interrogated about the $10,000 bribe, which he denied accepting.

Chanty, the border regiment commander, said he was questioned by Hong Vinol – a deputy commander in the national military police and the task force leader – about his regiment allegedly helping illegal Vietnamese logging activities.

Chanty said six of his subordinates are accused of permitting illegal Vietnamese logging in exchange for bribes. “Two were suspended, but we do not know their names because the procedure is not finished,” he said.

Provincial police chief Yun said the task force asked him about his subordinates, though he was “not involved”.

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