Environmental Officer Claims Self-Defense In Forest Shooting

Kampong Thom: According to the Police Commissioner and Prosecutor of Kampong Thom Provincial Court on June 29, 2021, an environmental officer shot and wounded one of 4 loggers in a Forest Preservation Area, in Kraya Commune, Santuk District, Kampong Thom Province. The director of the provincial environment department said that he shot, because in the past, the victim had injured the environmental officer. However, prosecutors and authorities have arrested the gunman.

The victim, Pon Phalla, a 26-year-old male farmer in Sopheak Mongkul village, Kraya commune, Santuk district, was shot and wounded by a gunman on the afternoon of June 26, near O’Prous (Trapeang Ovulk area, Trapeang Russey village, Kraya commune).

Police say the gunman, Chak Socheat, a 25-year-old man, was an environmental officer at the Ota Prohm office of the forest conservation area.

The victim, Pon Phalla, said that on June 26, 2021, at 8:00 AM, there were 4 people together: 1. Pon Phalla ( victim) 2. Nguon Meng Hang 3. Khoeun, male and 4. Rin Rak, who drove to collect firewood at the scene along with two chainsaws and Rin Rak driving a machine.

Nguon Meng Hang and Khoeun drove a bulldozer and took a chainsaw, and they arrived at the logging site at 10 o’clock. The men began cutting trees about 100 meters apart from each other.

At about 1 pm, an environmental official was seen wearing an environmental uniform carrying a rifle. Seeing this, Pon Phalla told Rin Rak to run first. He then ran three meters behind, and the environmental officer ran after him. The man dropped the chainsaw and ran for about 2 meters before the environmental officer shot him in the left thigh. On the ground, he was so frightened that he got up and ran with his injured leg and managed to get to a doctor.

After receiving the above information, the technical police and relevant provincial, district and investigative authorities of the local authority, coordinated by Mr. Sin Vir; the prosecutor of Kampong Thom Provincial Court, opened an investigation.

According to the research around the scene and the injuries on the victim, it is concluded that the victim was actually injured from a bullet wound and began a search for the suspect for questioning.

Top Kakada, director of the Department of Environment, said the next afternoon that the shooting was in self-defense. In the past, environmental officials have been attacked by the perpetrators, causing severe injuries, and no authorities have arrested them.
As well as self-defense, the loggers were acting in a violation of natural resources, with the means, equipment, materials and intent to commit forestry crimes.

Mr. Top Kakada confirmed that on the day of the incident, two environmental officials were stationed at the headquarters. After hearing the sound of the engine, an environmental officer went into the forest to look and found two suspects logging. Environmental officials told the two suspects to drop the chainsaw, but they did not, and intentionally waved the running machine at the environmental officer.

Concerned for safety, the officer fired warning shots, but the bullet struck one of the men in the thigh, injuring him.

It was said that the forest authorities were doing their job, and have the right to defend themselves. If there was an intention to shoot to kill the people who committed the crime, they would be dead. Once provoked It is necessary to protect themselves in unpredictable situations and wait for a procedural settlement.

Kampong Thom Provincial Police Commissioner Major General Men Ly said that the injured victim, Pon Phalla, a 24-year-old male, lived in Sopheak Mongkul village. Kraya commune, Santuk district. The environmental officer who shot at the victim, claiming to be in self-defense, was named Chak Socheatros, Sor Chey village, Kampong Svay commune, Kampong Svay district.

The case continues to be investigated. AREY

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