Land NGO Workers Suspected of Forest Crimes

Eight people—five of whom claimed to work for an environmental NGO—were arrested for illegally transporting wood in Kratie province on Tuesday, officials said on Wednesday.

Soy Thach, Sambor district police chief, said the eight men were detained after a complaint was filed to deputy provincial prosecutor Thuch Panhchaksantepheap.

“We arrested eight people while they were eating and drinking beer at a local restaurant in O’Po village,” Mr. Thach said, adding that eight pieces of wood and 19 planks of timber were confiscated; he couldn’t recall what type.

Five members of the group claimed to work for an environmental NGO, he said, but added that he could not remember its name.

Mr. Panhchaksantepheap said he did not believe most of the men who claimed to work for an NGO.

“The five people told us that they worked for a nongovernment environmental organization, but I think that only one of them is from the environmental organization because I know him well,” he said, declining to name the NGO but later stating the suspect he knew was the group’s deputy head.

The eight will continue to be questioned by officials today, he added.

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