About 20 villagers who were employed in an illegal logging racket in Pailin province’s Sala Krao district have submitted a report to the provincial police accusing their two ringleaders of failing to pay their “service fee,” an official said Tuesday.
Pailin provincial cabinet chief Chev Khan said that the villagers, who submitted the complaint on Saturday, were hired to take part in the illegal operation across the border with Thailand but were never paid.
“Their complaint only wanted our governor to know their rosewood ringleaders names—Ra and Ry—who cheated them and lured them to pull and carry rosewood from the Thai forest,” Mr. Khan said.
“The cheaters, Ra and Ry, who live in [Battambang province’s] Samlot area on the Thai-Cambodian border, did not pay their service fee and it made the villagers angry, so we asked them for their thumb prints and names to report to the provincial police.”
Mr. Khan said that the police had taken the report and then told the villagers that they could not help them be recompensed for illegal activity.
“In fact, both sides were wrong, and we educated the victims and asked them to abandon this job, but it is the first time that we have met [with villagers] who lodged a complaint about their service fee,” he said.
Sala Krao district police chief Nhik Thol said that police would work to explain to villagers along the border about the lawless en- vironment they are getting involved in when they transport illegal timber.
“We will educate them about the risk of sneaking into the Thai forest to pull and carry rosewood, and tell them about the villagers being cheated by the rosewood ringleaders,” Mr. Thol said.