Cambodian minister wants tougher fisheries crackdown

Khmer Times

Interior Minister Sar Kheng has ordered government officials and department heads to crack down on anyone committing fishing crimes, telling a committee meeting that lax efforts to “educate” repeat offenders continued to fail and exacerbate the problem.

According to Deputy National Police Chief Kirth Chantharith, Mr. Kheng told the attendees of a meeting about illegal fishing on the Tonle Sap and other areas on Friday that offenders must be arrested and charged.  He said investigations were leading police to the masterminds and culprits, but rarely did they lead to any arrests.

“The actions of the fishing crimes crackdowns of the past have been conducted with difficulties, but meanwhile, there are many offenders who have been arrested and sent to the court,” he said.

“Some people were taken to be educated and they still should be sent to the court as well if they continue to commit the crime.”  Mr. Kheng traveled by helicopter last week over the Tonle Sap lake in Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Thom, Battambang and Pursat provinces.

According to an Interior Ministry report, since the end of 2016 police have had 328 cases of fishing offenses. Materials were confiscated and destroyed in 316 cases and 37 offenders were arrested.  Five of the cases ended in fines.

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