Villagers in Ratanakkiri’s O’Yadav district last week seized several logs of illegal timber, ending what they said had been a lull in illegal logging since the arrests of two officials accused of colluding with loggers.
Lam villager Romas Svat, 50, said yesterday that he and two local forest patrollers in O’Yadav’s Pak Nhai commune spotted six loggers – believed to have crossed over from Vietnam – carrying six logs. “When they saw us, they unloaded the timber and escaped,” Svat said.
According to Svat, logging in the area had dropped to zero after the December arrests of Paknhai police chief Pouy Chrouch and border soldier Rocham Em, who allegedly facilitated the illegal timber trade.
Both Svat and Chhay Thy, provincial coordinator for local rights group Adhoc, said it was possible that other officers had again started colluding with loggers and that nearby concessionaire Company 72 may be involved.
Border officials and company representatives could not be reached yesterday, but district police chief Chuob Vannarak said “officers are keeping an eye on the case”.