Kampot provincial authorities and the Forestry Administration will ask for an urgent court order to arrest a villager for clearing land at Dangkov mountain in La’ang commune’s Damnak Ampil village, Dang Tong district, after discovering the fact on Tuesday.
Dang Tong district governor Siv Pheng, who put a stop to the land clearance with a joint task force of provincial Forestry Administration officials, identified the suspect as Sah Vanna of Damnak Ampil village.
“The Forestry Administration has submitted a lawsuit to Kampot provincial court against Sah Vanna. The La’ang commune police said they received court summons letters three times ordering [Vanna] to attend the provincial court, but he did not show up,” Pheng said.
On Tuesday the joint task force inspected the site and found evidence of land clearing activities. The Forestry Administration will ask for a court order to arrest the suspect, he said.
Provincial deputy prosecutor and provincial court spokesperson Khan Sophal confirmed the matter to The Post on Wednesday.
Pheng told The Post that according to the letter issued by the Kampot provincial administration, Vanna cleared the mountain land to grow mangoes.
Further inspection revealed that Vanna had cleared trees to make a pathway on the mountain, was growing mango trees along the roadside and had taken the land as his personal property.
According to officers who inspected the site, the land was cleared more than five months ago. The suspect had also used machinery to excavate and sell red soil from the base of the mountain.
The officers of the joint task force searched the site but the equipment had been removed. The authorities believe the suspect removed the equipment two days before they arrived at the site.
Once it had ascertained evidence of illegal land clearance, the Kampot provincial authority ordered the Forestry Administration to request an order from the provincial court to locate the suspect.
Pheng said the Kampot provincial authority will order district authorities and the Forestry Administration to confiscate all equipment and detain suspects as soon as they have clear evidence of mountain land clearance.