CAMBODIA'S top forestry official has declared a new ban on log exports a success,
but conceded the government does not have full control over the country's dwindling
"Ninety-nine percent of the country supports this ban, but there are still some
illegal loggers," said Agriculture Minister Tao Seng Hour on Jan 6, noting that
some logging may be continuing in areas held by former KR rebels.
"The government will not able to get any of that money," he said.
Cambodia, one of the most heavily forested countries in the world, has lost more
than three million hectares of forest in three decades, according to the World Bank
In the face of mounting pressure, the government announced a Dec 31 ban on log exports
and vowed to take strong measures to enforce the rule, including hiring a Swiss company
to monitor the country's borders.
But representatives of Societe Generale de Surveillance (SGS) are not due to arrive
in Cambodia until Jan 13.
And Tao Seng Hour acknowledged he had heard reports of Thai companies securing a
600 million baht ($24 million) deal to export logs from former KR guerrillas in the
northwest base of Samlot.
Nonetheless, the minister told reporters he expected the government would gain control
of the situation soon.