Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Accusations fly over logging of Battambang forest

Accusations fly over logging of Battambang forest

Accusations fly over logging of Battambang forest

A mass eviction in Battambang province yesterday saw 100 locals kicked out of the Prey Tralach community forest, which local authorities claim was illegally inhabited and deforested by villagers.

The villagers, however, blame a number of local officials for the illegal deforestation, while the officials yesterday denied they were involved in illegal logging.

It was not the first time local officials have been accused of being behind the 1,335-hectare forest’s destruction. Similar claims were made in 2012.

In 2012, officials intervened in the logging trade in Prey Tralach, saying that the villagers were working for local police and military figures.

Protesters at the site yesterday blamed a deputy in the district administration, Uk Kong, several local community leaders, officials and soldiers for the forest destruction.

“The officials allowed people to seize and clear the land. The village chief cleared the land for himself, and he helps the rich people who grabbed the community land,” one protester, Chrun Puth, said.

He added that about half of the forest has been cleared by the loggers.

After the officials allegedly began clearing the land several years ago, villagers moved onto the land, said Yin Mengly of local rights group Adhoc.

Battambang Provincial Governor Chan Sophal and District Governor Pich Malay declined to comment yesterday. Lay Sao, a former district councillor accused by the villagers, denied involvement in logging, as did the local Forestry Administration chief, You Phanhavoin.

An earlier version of this article reported that Uk Kong was a district governor allegedly responsible for illegal logging in Prey Tralach. He is actually a deputy director in the district administration.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia’s image problem

    In opening remarks at a recent event, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luy David said information can be a double-edged sword. He told a European Institute of Asian Studies (EIAS) briefing seminar that the media has unfairly presented

  • PM Hun Sen says dangers averted

    Delivering a campaign speech from his home via Facebook Live on Thursday, caretaker Prime Minister Hun Sen said his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) had carried the country through danger in its latest mandate. He was specifically referring to the threat of a “colour revolution”

  • Kingdom's trade deal with EU questioned before poll

    A European Union (EU) mission met with senior government officials at the Ministry of Interior on Tuesday as the 28-member bloc monitors an agreement under which Cambodian goods reach the crucial European market tariff-free. Some 10 commissioners are in the Kingdom as part of a seven-day

  • A new carrier takes off in capital

    Cambodia Airways, the latest passenger airline to enter the Kingdom, launched its first domestic flight on Tuesday. Flight KR801, carrying 145 passengers, left the Phnom Penh International Airport at 9:50am and landed in Siem Reap at 10:35am in an Airbus A319. Cambodia Airways marketing and branding