Eight Vietnamese nationals were sent to pre-trial detention on Saturday after being arrested last week for allegedly illegally logging on behalf of a local firm in Mondulkiri province.
The eight were arrested last Wednesday clearing land in Pech Chreada district near the Sre Pok Wildlife Sanctuary. They were found in possession of three excavators bearing the logo of a Duong Sruoch Group.
The accused claimed that they had been hired by the firm to clear the land to make an access road for a land concession, according to Morm Vanda, spokesman for the Mondulkiri Provincial Court.
“However, from the arrest day until Saturday, the court has not received the formal documents from Duong Sruoch Group that guarantee and prove that they are the legal workers of the company,” he said.
He added that Investigating Judge Suy Sophea had sent the men to pre-trial detention and are facing a provisional charge of “illegal logging”.
Sophea said the court would now investigate Duong Sruoch Group to see if they were linked to the eight men’s activities.
While local media reports suggested that the firm had a social land concession in the area and was only clearing the land for a road, Mondulkiri Governor Svay Sam Eang denied that any such concession had been allotted.
“I have never offered a social land concession to Duong Sruoch Group,” he said on the phone.