Repeat offender held for trapping wildlife

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As he is a repeat offender Sa Va could face between one and five years imprisonment and fined from 15-150 million riel. Supplied

The Mondulkiri Provincial Court on Wednesday ordered police to temporarily detain a man at the provincial prison after he was charged with setting a trap to catch wildlife at the Sre Pok Wildlife Sanctuary, said provincial Department of Environment director Keo Sopheak.

Sopheak said Sa Va, 31, who lives in Nang Khylek commune, in Koh Nhek district, Mondulkiri, was arrested by forest rangers from the sanctuary, located in Trapang Kor Koh, as he set 35 traps at the O’Lvea area within it on March 21.

Forest rangers confiscated some evidence including a machete, a hoe, and a motorbike without a plate number. They are being kept as evidence at the department. As for the traps, the rangers collected and burnt them on the spot so that they could not be used again.

After questioning, Sopheak said the rangers prepared the case and accused Va of destroying third-grade natural resources.

Va was sent to the provincial court for further action on Wednesday and was charged the same day with trapping wild animals under Articles 61 and 56 of the Law on Environmental Protection and Natural Resource Management. He was put in pre-trial detention pending his hearing.

“Va was previously sentenced to two months in prison by the provincial court for a similar offence, but he still repeated the crime. As he is a repeat offender, if found guilty, he could be sentenced to between one and five years imprisonment and fined from 15-150 million riel,” Sopheak said.

Over the past three months, forest rangers and Mondulkiri Department of Environment officers have arrested 30 suspects and sent them to court for further action.