A park ranger yesterday was shot and seriously wounded during a patrol at a wildlife sanctuary in Mondulkiri province, officials said.
Environment Ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra identified the victim as Cheng Chanty, in his 30s, who was wounded during the shooting which took place at about 3.30am in the Sre Pok protected area in Koh Nhek district’s Nang Khylik commune.
“Our ranger was hit in the knee and hip and he was seriously injured,” he said. “He is now being treated at Calmatte hospital,” Mr Pheaktra said. “Our officials are now working with provincial officers to collect evidence, including spent bullet casings, to prepare the paperwork for the case to be sent to court.”
He said that Mr Chanty was part of a joint patrol comprising two rangers, a military police officer, a police officer and two community activists.
Keo Sopheak, director of the provincial environment department , yesterday said that the six men were patrolling the wildlife sanctuary in the early morning when they spotted hammocks of suspected wildlife poachers.
He said that the party then set up tents about 200 to 300 metres away to monitor activities. Later, some men arrived with a wild pig and a deer which they had shot.
“The officials attempted to detain them, but they ran off and called out to other members of their group who showed up and began firing at the patrolling party, who returned fire,” Mr Sopheak said.
He added that after Mr Chanty was shot, the party left the area to take him for treatment.
“We have concluded that there were more than six suspects who entered the area to hunt wildlife illegally,” Mr Sopheak said.