Farmers charged with clearing land

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
One of the shelters the men had made in the forest. Supplied

Two farmers were charged yesterday for invading and clearing forestry land in a protected area of Mondulkiri province’s Keo Seima district.
Deputy district police chief Major Keo Bunthoeun said the two suspects were Pheas Mith, 40, and Tol Nith, 20, both from Kampong Cham province’s Batheay district who went to occupy land in protected forest area.
He added that Mr. Mith and Mr. Nith were charged by the Mondulkiri provincial court with “illegally clearing state forest and forestry invasion in order to occupy land cleared as property” under article 62 of the Law on Environmental Protection and Natural Resource Management.
They face from one to five years in prison if found guilty.
Maj. Bunthoeun said that on Friday morning, provincial environmental protection and natural resource officers patrolled a protected forest area in Sre Preah commune and came across the two suspects as they were clearing land in order to build shelters.
“They were arrested after they cut trees and constructed four shelters inside the protected forest areas in Keo Seima district,” he told Khmer Times yesterday.  
“They both probably cleared the forest a month ago.”
The provincial environmental protection and natural resource officers seized two chainsaws, one motorbike, eight long knives, one hoe, two large batteries and other related materials from the suspects, he added.
The officers destroyed the four shelters the suspects had constructed and sent the suspects to the district police station for questioning.
According to a Ministry of Environment report, 292,690 hectares of forestry land in Keo Seima district is listed as a protected area.

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