About 100 villagers in Kratie province had detained a man and confiscated five chainsaws yesterday after riding their motorcycles into a wildlife sanctuary to begin a four-day crackdown on forestry crime, a human-rights group official said.
The villagers, members of forest community networks, said that in coming days they would burn any luxury timber that illegal loggers had cut and prepared to smuggle.
This would emulate the actions of more than 100 Prey Lang villagers who burned 40 cubic metres of luxury timber they discovered in forest near their homes early this month.
Chhim Savuth, public forums and training projects coordinator at the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, said the villagers believed “loggers and powerful and wealthy people” were decimating the forest.
The villagers intended to gather last night at the forest’s site 117, in Skem commune, where they would wait for trucks illegally transporting timber to Vietnam, he said.
Luxury-timber trees had been destroyed by illegal loggers who had ravaged thousands of hectares of the Snuol wildlife sanctuary and 6,000 hectares of community land, Chhim Savuth said.
Snuol district deputy governor Man Sovan said the area had been partitioned and granted to 11 companies for agro-industry investment, which made it difficult to patrol.