A forest ranger protecting the Prey Ang Ten biodiversity conservation corridor in Kampong Thom province was attacked on Tuesday by an unidentified perpetrator, causing injuries to his head, neck and wrist.
Neth Pheaktra, spokesman of the Environment Ministry, yesterday said the incident occurred as five rangers were patrolling the corridor in Doeum Thkov area in Santuk district.
Mr Pheaktra said the rangers came across two people suspected of clearing trees and grabbing part of the protected land. He said as the rangers approached, the suspects fled, prompting a foot chase.
During the chase, one of the rangers was attacked.
“After seeing the offending activity, the rangers began chasing the perpetrators, but they fell down,” Mr Pheaktra said. “The perpetrators then attacked 30-year-old Chak Socheat using a machete.”
“Chak Socheat was seriously injured in his head, neck, and wrist,” he added. “The victim is currently being monitored by doctors in hospital in Phnom Penh.”
Mr Pheaktra said that he condemned the attack on the ranger who was working to protect the Kingdom’s natural resources.
Mr Pheaktra added that the victim filed a criminal complaint against the perpetrator at the provincial court.
Major General Ouk Kosal, chief of provincial police, said police are now investigating the case.
“We have not yet found the perpetrators, but our police officers are trying to investigate the case and identify the suspects,” Maj Gen Kosal said.
Chak Socheat is the second ranger injured in an attack during a patrol this year.
In late January, ranger Cheng Chanthy was shot in the thigh by poachers during a crackdown on wildlife crime in Mondulkiri province’s Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary.
Last year, three conservationists were killed during an attack in Mondulkiri. The victims were identified as forest ranger Tern Soknai, National Military Police officer Sek Vathana, and Wildlife Conservation Society official Thol Kna.
According to Mr Pheaktra, the Environment Ministry currently has 1,221 rangers protecting 60 protected areas and corridors in an area of about 7.5 million hectares.