The Stung Treng Provincial Court on Wednesday released seven men who were arrested for illegally logging in the province’s Sesan district, an official said.
The men were arrested on Monday for clearing state forest with machetes but released two days later after the court determined that they were not, in fact, loggers, according to prosecutor Pen Sarath.
“We decided to release them yesterday evening because they are not loggers,” Mr. Sarath said. “They are just workers who were middle-men, hired to clear that land,” he said.
“We are still investigating [to find] the leader in this case—the one who planned to clear the state land.”
Tith Vy, chief of the Forestry Administration’s Srekor-Kbal Romeas triage, who led Monday’s arrests, said his team followed the proper procedure in apprehending the seven.
“We arrested them because we received a report from the local commune officials about illegal logging,” Mr. Vy said.
“We received the report a day before [the arrests] about the logging, so we cooperated with commune police to arrest and question them.”