Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Taxis swarm forestry official pursuing van

Taxis swarm forestry official pursuing van

Taxis swarm forestry official pursuing van

A forestry official in Mondulkiri province was surrounded by taxi drivers yesterday as they allegedly prevented him from tailing a suspected illegal timber dealer who was heading towards the Vietnam border.

Shortly after 10am yesterday, Heng Chantra, deputy director of Sen Monorom town’s Forestry Department, was surrounded on National Road 76 while following a van he suspected was loaded with protected luxury timber, police said.

The standoff lasted for about two hours, while the 20 purported taxi drivers argued that Chantra should face extortion charges for allegedly soliciting money from them.

“He was interrogated because of the allegations of those taxi drivers,” Heng Uong, Keo Seima district police chief, said.

However, Bou Bunchheat, O’Raing district police chief, said he had concluded that “the allegation made by those drivers was just a pretext to avoid accusations [of protecting illegal loggers]”, and Chantra was later released without charge.

Police confiscated an AK-47 assault rifle from Chantra, although he produced documents showing he was authorised to carry the weapon as part of his law enforcement duties, Uong said.

Under questioning, Chantra said he received provincial authorisation to continue the pursuit of the van after leaving his area of jurisdiction in Sen Monorom town, Uong added.

He had called ahead to his colleagues in Keo Seima, but was blocked before he could reach the protected forest.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ethnic group ‘disappointed’ to be denied French visas to attend court

    Eleven people at the centre of a case involving seven indigenous Bunong villages in Mondulkiri province pursuing legal action in France have expressed disappointment after the French embassy in Phnom Penh denied their visa applications to attend court. A press release said the 11 included a

  • Cambodia nabs 12th place in best retirement destinations

    Cambodia is an expatriate hotspot for those dreaming of living a more luxurious lifestyle at an affordable cost, according to International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2019. For the fourth year in a row, Cambodia took the top spot in the Cost of Living category.

  • EU starts EBA withdrawal

    The EU on Monday announced that it has begun the 18-month process of withdrawing the Kingdom’s access to its preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement over “a deterioration of democracy [and] respect for human rights”. However, the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) said

  • PM: War result of foreign meddling

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Sunday that Cambodia’s recent history of conflict was caused by foreign interference. “The wars that happened were caused by provocation, incitement, support, smearing and interference from foreign powers, and the group of ignorant people who pushed Cambodia to