Mondulkiri provincial court on Saturday charged and jailed seven people for felling reforested trees in a protected area in Koh Nhek district’s Rayar commune, officials said.
Keo Sopheak, director of Mondulkiri provincial environment department, said yesterday park rangers arrested nine suspects on Thursday at Rayar commune’s Kdouy village while they were cutting down several trees in the protected area.
“Those suspects were sent to the provincial court on Saturday morning for further action related to destruction of trees under Articles 56 and 60 of the Law on Protected Areas,” Mr Sopheak said.
“The evidence confiscated by the rangers included four chainsaws, one motorbike, one electrical device and about four cubic metres of luxury wood,” he added.
The seven suspects were identified as Lim Van Khong, 52; Seng Chea, 41; Hun Sat, 44; An Ten, 39; Van Chanry, 26; Khoeun Sokheng, 25, and Ren Den, 30.
Mr Sopheak said that the rangers also arrested two 15-year-old boys along with the seven men but on Saturday, the investigating judge decided to release them on bail.
Mondulkiri Provincial Court spokesman Mam Vanda could not be reached for comment yesterday.
The Environment Ministry said in a report last month that officials from the provincial environment departments, directors of protected areas and forest rangers last year cracked down on more than 2,000 offences and seized nearly 10,000 cubic metres of plywood, 800 cubic metres of timber, 695 cubic metres of luxury wood and 4,047 wildlife traps.
It said that officials seized 314 vehicles, 153 handsaws and approximately 500 chainsaws. In addition, 470 people were made to sign social contracts and 37 were re-educated about the laws surrounding protected forestry areas.