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Police officer jailed over 41-hectare land grab

Tith Kongnov / Khmer Times Share:
Mondulkiri provincial officials inspect swathe of forestland encroached by Major General Pov Sothearan. Facebook

Mondulkiri Provincial Court has charged and jailed a senior police officer for allegedly clearing and encroaching about 41 hectares of protected forestland in the province.

Meas Bros, Provincial Court spokesman, said yesterday that Major General Pov Sothearan, deputy director of the National Police Border Department, was charged with land encroachment under Article 62 of the Law on Protected Areas.

Maj Gen Sothearan was arrested on Saturday after being accused of clearing forestland in O’Raing district’s Dak Dam commune, officials said.

If found guilty, he faces one month to one year in prison.

Mondulkiri provincial governor Svay Sam Eang said that Maj Gen Sothearan and those involved in encroaching protected forestland had to be prosecuted.

Swathe of forestland is allegedly cleared by Major General Pov Sothearan. Facebook

“Pov Sothearan and his inferiors have encroached on forestland and they will face the court,” he said, noting that authorities had filed a complaint against Maj Gen Sothearan.

Sam Eang added tough actions will be taken against any officials or powerful people who illegally cleared protected forestland.

Kreung Tola, Bunong forest protection activist, said authorities also arrested eight workers in connection with illegally clearing the forestland with Maj Gen Sothearan.

Interior Minister Sar Kheng yesterday requested Defence Minister General Tea Banh to take action against an army general and his 12 officers over illegal logging and land encroachment in Mondulkiri province.

Last month, Prime Minister Hun Sen removed Sin Vanvuth from his post as Koh Nhek district governor in Mondulkiri province over land encroachment.


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