Four suspects were jailed Thursday for illegally harvesting luxury timber from a protected forest in Mondulkiri province’s Koh Nhek district, a court official said yesterday.
Morm Vanda, a provincial court spokesman, yesterday said the four were jailed after being suspected of illegal logging in a protected area.
“They were charged with the collection of rare natural resources in a protected area,” Mr Vanda said. “They were sent to pre-trial detention by the provincial court.”
The suspects were identified as 26-year-old Vech Vat, 24-year-old Loum Thaing, 30-year-old Sa Va and 27-year-old Loum Taing, all from the province’s Koh Nhek district.
Keo Sopheak, provincial environmental department director, said the luxury timber was cut and loaded into two trucks last week.
“The four were caught red-handed when they were cutting luxury thnung timber inside the Sre Pok protected area,” Mr Sopheak said. “We seized about three cubic metres along with two trucks and chainsaws.”
He noted that provincial officials will take action against the destruction of forests.
“Our officials cooperated with military police along border post 303,” Mr Sopheak said. “They were patrolling the area when they saw the suspects using chainsaws to fell many thnung trees.”
In August, the Interior Ministry ordered authorities in Ratanakkiri, Mondulkiri and Stung Treng provinces to investigate and intercept all forestry crimes and report back to the ministry.
Last month, Interior Minister Sar Kheng attributed a lack of law enforcement against forestry crimes in the province to its Governor Svay Sam Eang. Mr Kheng said Mr Sam Eang should pay more attention to the destruction of forests in the province.
Prime Minister Hun Sen last month accused villagers and supporters of the now-defunct opposition party of cutting down trees and encroaching on protected forests.
During a UN meeting in New York with thousands of Cambodians living in the United States and Canada, Mr Hun Sen said that suspected forestry offenders should be shot from a helicopter.