Search form

Login - Register | FOLLOW US ON

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Guns and booty tipped for foresters

Guns and booty tipped for foresters

THE Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), Chan Sarun, has floated

the idea of arming forestry officials and allowing them to keep half of any money

obtained during crackdowns as a "reward".

Sarun made the suggestions on April 6 at an annual meeting to review his ministry's

work in over past year and to set objectives for 2004.

Among the 280 attendees were Prime Minister Hun Sen, representatives from ten government

ministries and NGOs.

"[MAFF] proposes to the government to provide the right for the use of weapons

by the Forest Administration [FA] officials who are the justice police," Sarun

said.

"In order to encourage the officials who have achieved a crackdown on all kinds

of forestry and wildlife [crimes] the government should allow the Forestry Administration

to take 50 per cent of the income [arising from the seizure] as a reward," he

said.

A senior MAFF official, who did not want to be named, said he would discuss with

the Ministry of Economy and Finance whether the collection of "rewards"

would involve selling timber and logging equipment or just the confiscation of cash

found on illegal loggers.

He said that if the suggestion was taken up it would be the FA's "rehabilitation

justice police" who would receive the guns.

An increase in the power of the FA is a worrying prospect for those living in the

forestry concession areas, said Tan Sokhom, Forestry Project Officer with NGO Forum.

"It's a very, very bad idea, it will scare community people," Sokhum said

of the plan to give FA officials guns, adding that the police or military are currently

used as protection during illegal logging crackdowns.

She said corruption among the forest crime authority was already a major issue.

"Community people always report that when they confiscate a chainsaw, the logger

can give some money to the official and get it back," Sokhum said.

At a recent meeting of communities living within 13 forest concessions, each provincial

representative reported ongoing illegal logging, despite a 2002 moratorium on cutting

and transporting timber.

The full outcomes of the March 16-18 Forestry Network Meeting, organized by NGO Forum,

are expected after Khmer New Year.

0

Comments

Please, login or register to post a comment

Latest Video

Turkish Embassy calls for closure of Zaman schools

With an attempted coup against the government of President Recep Erdogan quashed only days ago and more than 7,000 alleged conspirators now under arrest, the Turkish ambassador to Cambodia yesterday pressed the govern

CNRP lawmakers beaten

Two opposition lawmakers, Nhay Chamroeun and Kong Sakphea were beaten unconscious during protests in Phnom Penh, as over a thousand protesters descended upon the National Assembly.

Student authors discuss "The Cambodian Economy"

Student authors discuss "The Cambodian Economy"

Students at Phnom Penh's Liger Learning Center have written and published a new book, "The Cambodian Economy".