Two men were charged and detained by the Ratanakiri Provincial Court on Saturday, a day after they were caught poaching wild animals using illegal hunting weapons.
Phon Khemarin, provincial environment department director, yesterday identified the suspects as Ang Bun and Peut Chet. The two were arrested on Friday after hunting and killing two red muntjacs and one mouse deer in a biodiversity conservation area in Veun Sai district.
“During the crackdown, rangers found two hunting rifles, two boxes of ammunition and the carcasses of three wild animals,” he said.
Khemarin said the pair were sent to prison awaiting trial on Saturday after an examination by the investigating judge.
Provincial court spokesman Keo Visoth could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra, during a visit to Chi Phat Community-Based Ecotourism Site in Koh Kong province on July 9, said that 492 hunting weapons have been seized by rangers and partner organisations in protected areas across the country in the first six months of this year.
Eduard Lefter, law enforcement manager of environmental NGO Wildlife Alliance, also said that hunting rifles, loaded with black powder bullets, can fire three to five rounds with a single pull of the trigger at a range of about 200 to 300 metres. Such weapons, he said, can instantly kill animals or people.
“We currently have 69 protected areas covering a total of 7.3 million hectares of land. With such a large area to monitor, the Ministry of Environment needs the cooperation of stakeholders to ensure the sustainable development and protection of the environment and natural resources for future generations,” said Pheaktra.