Mondulkiri villagers seized seven chainsaws on Tuesday from illegal loggers claiming to be selling timber to logging tycoon Try Pheap’s company.
A group of ethnic Pnong villagers came across the three illegal loggers during a patrol of their community forest on Tuesday, according to Bil Vanthy, 27, a villager in O’raing district’s Ondong Kraleng village.
“They were cutting luxury timber … in the protected forest. Our rangers found them and seized the chainsaws and rifle, but we did not arrest them. They ran into the forest,” he said.
Local Pnong families created a ranger group to protect their 2,000 hectares of forest land after illegal loggers were spotted in late 2013, Vanthy said, adding that other villagers have since been spotted logging as well.
“When they saw that the logging makes money, some community members started to log too, and it is hard to stop,” Vanthy said.
Try Pheap company representative Sreng Meng said that loggers were “playing tricks by using the company’s name”.