Banteay Meanchey province police say they foiled plans to rob villages in Mongkol Borei district by breaking up a gang of bandits living in the forest.
One suspected bandit was charged in the provincial court Saturday with using an illegal weapon and intention to steal, said Chhoeun Sokhom, deputy police chief in Banteay Meanchey. Another 13 suspects are still at large, eight of whom are named in an arrest warrant before the Banteay Meanchey municipal court. The eight are believed to be in Battambang province, police said.
District villagers who had climbed a mountain for firewood last month alerted police to a group of armed men wearing soldiers’ uniforms, police said.
Police posted extra officers in nearby villages for their protection, then raided the camp, but the group escaped.
Police arrested Chen Map, 37, of Angkor Borei district on June 27 after he returned to his village to see his family. Chen Map told police the bandits had asked him which villages in the area had lots of cows before allowing him to join them.
Chen Map told police the group had six AK-47 rifles and one RPD light machine gun in the forest. Police found another AK-47 that Chen Map had buried near his house.
Banditry in Cambodia’s countryside used to be common but has declined in recent years. The most infamous group to terrorize villagers recently was the “Underwear Gang,” which police say robbed and raped their way across five provinces in 2000.