Two men sent to court for ex­ca­va­tor ac­ci­dent

The Phnom Penh Post - - NATIONAL - Khouth Sophak Chakrya

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.

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