Nine Vietnamese nationals were arrested in Mondolkiri province on Wednesday after sneaking across the border to fell trees inside a protected forest, officials said on Thursday.
The men crossed into Pech Chreada district on seven motorbikes and were apprehended on Wednesday afternoon, according to Keo Sopheak, deputy chief of the Forestry Administration’s Mondolkiri cantonment.
“They were on their way to cut trees in a protected forest in Pech Chreada district,” he said. “The authorities also confiscated two chainsaws from them.”
Mr. Sopheap said the nine were sent to the cantonment headquarters.
Cantonment chief Vong Sokserey said the men were held overnight and interrogated on Thursday.
“They all arrived here on Wednesday night, and we are questioning them one by one,” he said. “They are not allowed onto Khmer land without permission from Khmer authorities, so we want to find out what other people were involved.”
Mr. Sokserey said the chainsaws were proof that the men intended to log inside Cambodian territory.
“Sure, those people had not actually cut down the trees yet,” he said. “But we arrested them because we saw they were driving motorbikes in our Khmer land with two chainsaws.”