Kampong Thom provincial court has preliminarily charged an environmental NGO worker with extorting money from locals in Baray district.
Sorn Savuth, 42, the Kampong Thom branch manager for the Kandal-based Forest, Animal and Environment Organisation, was arrested on Saturday.
His arrest followed a complaint from local people who accused him of setting up an illegal checkpoint and extorting money from them for transporting legal wood for farming.
Ith Sothea, the prosecutor who issued the warrant for the arrest of the suspect, said Mr Savuth was sent to the provincial prison on Monday morning.
NGO director Touch Nora on Sunday said his staff member was a devoted environmentalist who was just doing his job.
“The local people gave him about $1, but it was not a bribe, it was to show their generosity for his work,” he said.
“I really regret that the people and the military police targeted someone who advocates for the protection of the environment while the real timber traders always go free,” he added.
Contacted yesterday, Mr Nora said he would hire a lawyer to defend his “innocent” employee in court.