Six Vietnamese nationals who were detained on Wednesday for “illegal fishing and poaching” in Stung Treng province’s Sesan district will be sent to court on Friday, the provincial Military Police said.
The six were arrested on the same day by the district Military Police in two separate instances. Two of them were detained for fishing in a protected area near the Lower Sesan II Dam, the district Military Police commander who participated in both operations, Sok Rithy, said on Thursday.
The duo was identified as brothers aged 29 and 22, residing at Phluk commune’s Phluk village in Sesan district.
Rithy recounted that one day prior to their arrest, a joint task force consisting of fisheries department officials and Military Police officers found the two suspects fishing – using two different boats – in the restricted area, while on patrol along Sesan river.
The two escaped and left a 400-metre net and other fishing equipment upon seeing the authorities, he said.
“The authorities gathered and confiscated the evidence before putting it on their boat and docking it near the [Lower Sesan II] power dam overnight. The following morning, they found the boat and evidence had gone missing,” he said.
Following an extended investigation, he continued, the team located the evidence on another boat that was docked in front of the suspects’ house, where they were arrested and interrogated.
According to Rithy, the two admitted stealing the authorities’ boat and sinking it in the middle of the river, taking only the evidence with them.
“We have yet to find the sunken boat until now,” he said.
Later on Wednesday, police detained the other four Vietnamese nationals with the remains of a rabbit and porcupine that were allegedly hunted illegally in the protected area.
Other evidence found during the crackdown included a home-made gun, bullets and explosives.
Rithy said the six suspects were sent to the Stung Treng provincial Military Police headquarters “to be followed with legal procedures”.
Speaking to The Post on Thursday, provincial Military Police commander Ieng Vandy said the two suspects had been charged with “unauthorised fishing in a prohibited area and stealing with aggravated circumstances”, while the other four were charged for “illegal wildlife hunting and possession of weapons without permission”.