Man charged over land grab of hundreds of hectares of protected forest

Battambang provincial court has charged a man who illegally cleared hundreds of hectares of protected forest land for sale as housing lots in Battambang province’s Samlot district since 2015.

Long Vuthy, 48, was arrested on September 15 by joint forces from the provincial authority and National Committee for Forest Crime Prevention.

Tieng Sambo, court spokesman, yesterday noted that Mr Vuthy was put in pretrial detention.

“He was charged with encroachment, clearing forests, setting forest fires, bulldozing forest land to claim ownership, fraud, and unlawful exploitation,” she said. “The provincial court charged him under article 62 of the law on natural protected area, and articles 377, 378, 597 and 598 of the criminal code.”

If convicted Mr Vuthy faces a jail term of between six months and eight years and a fine of up to about $66,500.

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Khy Sovuthy