Police Confiscate Barges and Sand Dredging Machines

Ten barges and five sand dredging machines were confiscated near Phnom Penh’s Koh Pich island on Monday, according to police, just days after the Ministry of Mines and Energy called on authorities to tackle the often-illegal practice.

“We confiscated about 10 barges and five sand dredging machines at 4 p.m. near Koh Pich,” Phnom Penh police chief Choun Sovann said Monday.

In a letter issued on December 30, the Mines and Energy Ministry reminded Phnom Penh governor Pa Socheatvong, as well as the governors of Kandal and Prey Veng provinces, of an ongoing ban on dredging sand from the Mekong and Bassac rivers.

The missive says the ministry invalidated all sand dredging licenses on the two rivers in 2011.

“If there are boats, sand barges, or any…dredging in banned locations, please, may the governors of the city and the provinces take action to prevent and punish [offenders] in compliance with the law,” it says.

City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche confirmed that the municipality had received the letter. Kandal and Prey Veng provincial officials could not be reached.

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