Stung Treng Provincial Court has jailed eight villagers accused of encroaching a protected area in Thala Barivat district.
The eight accused were identified as Sun Sovath, Sea Moeun, Neth Lunty, Lun Chharn, Lach Chhen, Lao Chantha, Keo Siphou, and Kim San, living in Thala Barivat commune’s O’Trel village.
They were charged with encroaching and illegally occupying forested land under Article 62 of the Law on Environmental Protection and Natural Resource Management.
If found guilty, they face five to ten years in prison each and a fine from about $3,750 to about $37,500.
Major Keo Vichet, deputy district police chief, said the men were arrested on March 16 when they were caught felling down trees and clearing the protected forests in Thala Barivat district.
“Police seized seven chain saws, eight long knives, seven hoes, and five big batteries from them,” Maj Vichet said. The men are now under pre-trial detention.