Illegal Logging Case ‘Closed’ Against RCAF Officer

A brigadier general in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) whose home and rubber plantation in Mondolkiri province were raided by police last week claimed Sunday that the authorities had apologized to him after he threatened them with a lawsuit.

Police had raided Brigadier General Chhit Meng Sreng’s home in Keo Seima district and seized dozens of pieces of luxury wood being kept there, but no arrests were made. Brig. Gen. Meng Sreng maintained his innocence following the raid and accused the authorities of ruining his reputation.

“This case is over, because when I threatened them with a lawsuit the authorities involved apologized to me,” Brig. Gen. Meng Sreng, who is chief of the provincial RCAF unit, said Sunday, without specifying who exactly apologized or closed the case.

So Sovichea, the provincial deputy prosecutor who granted police a search warrant for the brigadier general’s property, said Sunday that while he had not apologized, he did not plan to call Brig. Gen. Meng Sreng for questioning.

“I have no plan to invited him for questioning as this is the obligation of the provincial Forestry Administration,” he said.

Provincial governor Eng Bunheang, who last week said Brig. Gen. Meng Sreng was being investigated and could face the law, declined to comment Sunday on the status of the case.

Sok Ratha, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, criticized the authorities for failing to follow through on the case properly.

“This case is strange because they found enough evidence at the offender’s house but instead they apologized to the offender,” he said.

“I think this is because the authorities are weak—they cannot uphold the law properly because they are scared of powerful people.”

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