Police on Saturday detained 19 Vietnamese including two women in Pursat province for fishing with illegal equipment in a protected area in Koh Ka Ek Village in Kandieng district’s Raingtoel commune.
The General Commissariat of the National Police said on Monday that the authorities also seized illegal fishing equipment including two 1,000m-long freshwater fishing nets, eight boats fitted with large engines, and 115kg of fish of various species.
All the illegal items have been impounded. The suspects who were in custody have since been handed over to the Kandieng district fisheries administration for further legal action, according to Fresh News.
The news website said the police operation was carried out under the orders of Pursat provincial governor Mao Thonin.
Kandieng Fisheries Administration chief Phem Sokhon declined to comment when asked by The Post.
However, he was quoted by the website of the General Commissariat of the National Police as saying that the suspects are accused of fishing with equipment not allowed according to the prakas issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
“In some cases, police raids on illegal fishing can involve a conflict of interest,” the National Police website said.
“It was known that a group of fishermen was being pressured by one police officer who ordered them to pay 500,000 riel ($125) per fishing area.
“For two fishing areas, they had to pay 1,000,000 riel. After this practice continued for some time, the raid was planned, and was enacted on Saturday,” it said.
Neither provincial governor Mao Thonin nor Kandieng district police chief Ly Senghim could be reached for comment on Monday.