Prime Minister Hun Sen has appealed to ministry officials and local authorities to strengthen the protection of natural resources following a series of high-profile illegal logging busts that resulted in no arrests.
In a statement signed on Thursday and released yesterday on local media outlet Fresh News, which is often used to disseminate state directives, the premier demanded that authorities take the illegal timber trade and wildlife trafficking more seriously.
“Provincial, city and district administrations must take strict and serious action – firmly regulating legal logging and cracking down on illegal logging,” the statement notes. “Check and take action to get rid of transporting and storing all kinds of wood that do not have permission to be in that territory.”
The statement, which specifically called out the Ministry of Agriculture and the Forestry Administration, also condemned wildlife trafficking, calling on officials to take action “to prevent and to get rid of transporting and logging timber as well as transporting wildlife without permission to outside countries”.
It noted that, if necessary, provincial or city governors may request urgent intervention from the national military police.The statement comes after logging tycoon Try Pheap and General Seng Kok Hieng were implicated in separate illegal timber busts this month without subsequent legal sanction.