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Two indigenous Lao charged with clearing forest

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Two men have been charged for clearing forest land in Mondulkiri province. Photo supplied

Two indigenous Lao charged with clearing forest

Two suspects arrested by Sre Pok Wildlife Sanctuary rangers have been charged with clearing forest land in a protected area by the Mondulkiri Provincial Court, Keo Sophors, the director of the local Department of Environment, said on Thursday.

A third was released after being found to be a minor.

Saduoy Lai, 46, and Mao Pheaktra, 19, were charged by a Mondulkiri Provincial Court prosecutor with illegally clearing forest land in a wildlife sanctuary, Sophors said.

The investigating judge was yet to make a ruling, ordering the suspects back to the Mondulkiri provincial Department of Environment for further questioning on Friday morning, he said.

Sophors said three people were seen clearing forest land in Norng Bour village in Koh Nhek district’s Norng Khiloek commune on Tuesday night by rangers patrolling Sre Pok Wildlife Sanctuary.

The suspects attempted to flee but were arrested. A chainsaw was discovered and confiscated.

Sophors said the arrested were indigenous Lao people living in Mondulkiri province’s Koh Nhek district.

“Two suspects were sent to Mondulkiri Provincial Court after being found clearing forest land in a wildlife sanctuary and arrested on Tuesday night. A third was released as he was a minor,” Sophors said.

Rangers are preparing a case to be sent to the Mondulkiri provincial Department of Environment for further action to be taken.

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