Police Chief, RCAF Officer Charged for Illegal Logging

The Ratanakkiri Provincial Court on Saturday charged a commune police chief and a Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) commander with allowing illegal logging in the province, a court official said Sunday.

Poy Chrouch, the chief of police in O’yadaw district’s Paknhai commune, and Rocham Em, RCAF border protection commander in the district’s Sesan commune, were arrested Friday on suspicion of being “deeply involved” in illegal logging, deputy provincial court prosecutor Mam Vanda said at the time.

On Saturday, the men were charged under articles 98 and 100 of the country’s Forestry Law and placed in provisional detention, Investigating Judge Chey Mealia said Sunday.

“We decided to detain the suspects and they are now in the provincial prison awaiting an investigation,” Judge Mealia said, adding that the men face up to five years in prison if found guilty.

Article 98 of the Forestry Law covers crimes involving the illegal harvesting of forest products, while Article 100 deals with state authorities who “directly or indirectly allow forest exploitation.”

On Friday, Chhay Thy, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said the two men were known to be involved in smuggling wood into Vietnam and were arrested after six Vietnamese loggers, detained in November, confessed to authorities that the duo allowed them to log on Cambodian soil.

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