Patrollers from the Prey Lang Community Network (PLCN), Environment Ministry rangers and a police officer confiscated four chainsaws, six tractors and nearly 100 planks of first-grade timber from a group of loggers on Sunday in Preah Vihear’s Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary.
According to Pok Hong, a patroller from the PLCN, 30 members of the group, alongside government counterparts, conducted a four-day patrol starting on Thursday, during which they discovered logging activity by both locals and foreigners.
“Some loggers escaped with their chainsaws upon seeing us. We managed to confiscate only 93 planks,” she said, adding that the evidence was impounded at the provincial environmental department.
Hong said that two villagers, who claimed that they only felled the timber to build houses and not for trade, initially refused to surrender their tractors until the legal procedures were explained to them.
“They argued with us a lot, but in the end we managed to seize and drive the tractors away,” she said.
Hong noted the pervasiveness of the illegal logging problem. “Logging is still happening at Prey Lang. When we [the authorities] return home, they go to log again.”
Just last week, PLCN activists accused local officials of colluding with illegal timber transporters after uncovering 300 first-grade logs in a community forest in Kratie province. The group estimated that 70 percent of the timber was felled within Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary.