Kratie’s Prek Prasap district authorities on Friday confiscated a bulldozer in connection with the clearing of 10 hectares of forestland near the protected Prey Lang forest, officials said on Sunday.

Vin Phun, police chief in Chroy Banteay commune, said villagers on Friday morning reported that a group of traders had allegedly brought two bulldozers to clear the forestland next to the Prey Lang boundary in Chambok Phaem village. Following the tip, Sek Bunheng, governor of Prek Prasap district, led a crackdown, though the bulldozer’s operator managed to escape.

Chroy Banteay Forestry Administration officials assisted in the raid, and only one bulldozer was found at the location.

“[The bulldozer] was seized and impounded at the Chroy Banteay Forestry Administration for investigation and further procedures,” Phun said.

Bunheng said some 10 hectares of state forestland had been cleared.

“On Sunday, authorities continue to investigate and are searching for the identity of the owner of the vehicle to prepare a complaint to be sent to the court,” he said.

Chhun Sokhen, chief of the Chroy Banteay Forestry Administration, said officials will send the case to the court to demand that the owner come forward to take responsibility.