Illegal Viet loggers go free ... Illegal Cambodian loggers go to jail: Life in the CPP kingdoom?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Three illegal Vietnamese loggers arrested and released

Monday, 2 August 2010
By Khmerization
Source: Kong Yuthnea, Radio Free Asia

Three Vietnamese illegal loggers, along with 2 motorbikes and two electric saws, had been arrested on 29th July while illegally logging inside Cambodian territory in O'Thmor Da village of Keo Seima district in Mondulkiri province, but were immediately released, reports Radio Free Asia.

Officials from the Conservation Department denied that there were any arrests of the Vietnamese illegal loggers, but confirmed the confiscations of 2 motorbikes and 2 electric saws. However, villagers said everybody had seen with their own eyes that the trio were being handcuffed by the military police. "Three Vietnamese, 2 electric saws and 2 motorbikes. Officials from the Conservation Department went down to the area and arrested them on the spot. There were plenty of villagers along the road witnessing the arrests. They saw the trio being arrested and bundled into a police car and saw the military police transporting them on motorbikes with their hand cuffed, most people saw it. According to the information, conservation officials fined them $1,000 each", he said.

A local official had also confirmed the arrests of the three Vietnamese.

However, Mr. Peth Peaktra, Deputy Director of Conservation Department of Keo Seima district, denied that there were any arrests of any Vietnamese. But official who was sent to conduct investigation at Keo Seima district had confirmed that three Vietnamese were in fact arrested, but immediately released after they paid $3,000 in bribes for the release. "Officials from Keo Seima Conservation Department had arrested the three (Vietnamese) loggers and they were paid $3,000 in bribes by those Vietnamese for their release. This is very true. Why did the conservation officials did like this? But for our Khmer people who didn't even log any trees, but just used their tractors to transport some timbers for other people, they, along with their tractors, were arrested and detained without food until today?", he said.

Mr. Song Pheang, director of Mondulkiri Forestry Department, said he had received a report from conservation officials that no Vietnamese were arrested. Only 2 electric saws and 2 motorbikes were seized. "The report didn't say that any people were arrested, but according to laws, any people who were arrested must be sent to court for prosecutions", he said.

In the past, there were reports that many Vietnamese illegal loggers were arrested for illegally logging inside Cambodian territory, but were often released without charge.


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