The Banteay Meanchey provincial Military Police on Wednesday sent a businessman and his driver to court for running a mountain excavation operation in Preah Neth Preah district without a valid licence.
Deputy district police chief Sin Rasy told The Post on Wednesday that Soeum Sambo and his excavator driver Sem Rithy, both 33, were arrested on Tuesday when authorities inspected the site in Phnom Leap commune’s Troyorng village.
They had earlier received a report that one of Sambo’s excavators fell off the mountain, killing another driver identified as Khlinh Sy, 27.
“After inspection and questioning, authorities found that the owner does not have a valid licence for mountain excavation,” he said.
Provincial Military Police commander Baon Ben said on Wednesday that Sambo and his excavator driver were sent to court on a charge of “destruction of natural resources”.
Reached by phone before his trial began, Sambo claimed he had a valid excavation licence issued by provincial authorities. However, he acknowledged that his workers had overstepped the boundary of Leap mountain, where the excavation operation took place.
“I confessed that my workers’ operation was beyond what is allowed by the licence,” he said.
Local villagers and authorities said mountain excavation in the area had been going on for a long time and is being done by various companies.
Phnom Leap commune chief Em Nuy said another company, Ean Chea, stopped its operations after the tragic accident, apparently foreseeing the authorities’ inspection.