A group of illegal loggers seriously beat a forest ranger while authorities tried to seize their haul of timber in Preah Vihear province, officials said yesterday.
A Tbeng Meanchey district police officer said the injured ranger was Yann Bunseoung, who was attacked when about 300 loggers became enraged when authorities told them they were to be arrested and their haul, tractors and chainsaws impounded.
“The ranger officials tried to handcuff one of loggers to be transferred to the forestry administration office accusing him of illegal logging, but the other loggers quickly grabbed a small wooden stick with a sharp end and used it to attack Mr Bunseoung, injuring his right temple,” the police officer said.
The officer noted that there were eight rangers present during the operation, which had rounded up a haul of illegal timber and eight tractors used for transporting the timber when the 300 loggers arrived to stop the rangers from completing the seizure.
The attack happened at about 8pm in the forest, the officer added.
The officer also said that local police brought Mr Bunseoung to the provincial hospital, after which he was transferred to a hospital in Phnom Penh.
Environment Ministry spokesman Sao Sopheap could not be reached for comment yesterday.