Court Decides Not to Charge Forest Official

Kompong Speu Provincial Court decided not to charge a forestry official accused of transporting illegally logged timber from the Oral Wildlife Sanctuary, officials said Thursday, cutting short what would have been the first case of a forestry official be­ing tried under the forestry law.

Phan Pheary, former head of forestry for Sangke Sartob commune, was caught Feb 11 driving a truck hauling 4.3 cubic meters of luxury timber bought from villagers inside the wildlife sanctuary. The Forestry Administration fined him $2,500 and gave him a desk job in Phnom Penh before sending the case to court.

“I decided not to charge Phan Pheary because he was already fined and withdrawn from his position,” said Ven Yoeun, provincial court prosecutor. He said he sent a letter informing Forestry Administration Director Ty Sok­hun of his decision last week.

Under the forestry law, any forestry official who participates in illegal forest activities is subject to one to five years in prison and a fine of $2,500 to $25,000. But officials said last month no forester has been tried under the law.

Ven Yoeun said he would reconsider if officials or others file another complaint against Phan Pheary.


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