Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Illegal gem mine camp on Jolie-supported land broken up

Illegal gem mine camp on Jolie-supported land broken up

Environmental officers discovered and destroyed a month-old camp deep in a protected Samlot protected area of the Jolie-Pitt Foundation on Wednesday. Photo supplied
Environmental officers discovered and destroyed a month-old camp deep in a protected Samlot protected area supported by the Jolie-Pitt Foundation on Wednesday. Photo supplied

Illegal gem mine camp on Jolie-supported land broken up

Officials are looking for a group of illegal gem miners after discovering and destroying a month-old camp deep in a protected area supported by the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation (MJP) on Wednesday.

Five patrollers, including an MJP ranger, found the illegal mining hideout in Pailin’s Samlot protected area, according to the ranger Chan Socheat.

The area is over 600,000 hectares and is protected by royal decree. It is a joint preservation project of the Ministry of Environment and actress Angelina Jolie’s foundation.

“We did not see the miners; they had escaped before our arrival. We saw only tent camps and seized 170 animal traps in the forest,” Socheat said.

Socheat said the team found axes, machetes, dishes, clothes and the remains of wild animals eaten at the camp.

The patrollers dismantled the makeshift living quarters and burned the materials.

“According to what we saw, there were about six or seven miners there for about a month,” Socheat said.

He explained that this region of Samlot has many precious gems and has been a site of illegal mining since the Khmer Rouge era.

Kim Sokha, Pailin provincial environment department director, said the miners were locals working for larger-scale gem traders, and may have been tipped off that authorities were approaching.

“When we went there, they knew we were coming, so they fled. They were told on the phone and they managed to escape,” he said.

Sokha said officials are searching for the miners and the traders supporting them.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro