Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Activist alleges ranger ‘inaction’

Activist alleges ranger ‘inaction’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A truck filled with illegally logged wood in Oral Wildlife Sanctuary. Facebook

Activist alleges ranger ‘inaction’

Forestry crimes are still occurring in the Phnom Oral Wildlife Sanctuary and the National Park in the Cardamom Mountains in Pursat province, a prominent environment activist said.

Chea Hean, director of the environmental watchdog Anti-Corruption, Natural Resource Protection and Civil Rights Protection (ACNCIPO), alleged that environmental officials do not seem concerned about apprehending perpetrators.

Chea said on March 24 that he was investigating natural resource crimes in the sanctuary and the national park and discovered that crimes were still being committed. He saw a truck transporting timber and machinery in the area, but environmental officials did not arrest anyone.

“From my observation, we could hear a sawmill in the forest when we entered the forest in both the Cardamom mountain conservation and sanctuary areas. Rangers didn’t seem interested in preventing crime. They stayed in the air-conditioned room and said there is no forest crime,” he said.

He said perpetrators concealed timber in many places, but he was not clear how many trees have been cut down and how much forest had been cleared.

“They drop 10, 20 or 30 logs in one place. So we do not know how many cubic metres have been cut down yet, because we are still investigating this. We also don’t know how much deforestation has occurred. I am preparing a map and will submit a report at the end of this survey,” he said.

Chea said when rangers went into the forest no crimes happened, because details of their movements could have been revealed to the criminals. They should quietly patrol the forest if they want to gather evidence.

After collecting enough evidence of crimes, Chea would invite rangers and expert officials to examine the information. He requested that the environment ministry be open to civil society organisations as well as the community, associations, monks and people so that they can participate in preventing natural resources crime.

Provincial environment department director Kong Puthyra declined to comment.

Environment ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra said his ministry has always welcomed other partners in the protection and conservation of natural resources and biodiversity in protected areas. But the partners must understand the laws and regulations, he said.

“The first thing we think is about is their safety. This is because the perpetrators also have weapons. That is why it is necessary for them to cooperate with park rangers. Secondly, they are not officially police officers, so if they make an arrest on behalf of the rangers, that is illegal,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen

  • Angkor Beer, 30 Years of Prestige and Still Counting

    Let’s celebrate 30 years of prestige with Angkor Beer. In this 2022, Angkor Beer is 30 years old and has been staying with Cambodian hearts in all circumstances. Head of core beer portfolio, EmYuthousaid, “We have been with Cambodians for three decades now. We, ANGKOR Beer, pride

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,