Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Activists claim logging rampant before polls

Activists claim logging rampant before polls

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A member of the Preah Vihear Community Forestry Network examines the remains of a resin tree that was illegally felled. Photo supplied

Activists claim logging rampant before polls

At least 66 resin trees in the Prey Preah Roka Wildlife Sanctuary in Preah Vihear province’s Tbeng Meanchey district, have been felled so far this month, according to environmental activists.

They say deforestation continues to grow unabated, as authorities suspended or cut the number of patrols in the lead-up to the July 29 national elections.

Preah Vihear Community Forestry Network head Pich Porn said on Thursday that perpetrators had felled at least 66 resin trees in Pur commune in July, with other varieties of trees being logged, as authorities busy themselves with the election campaign.

“Nowadays, companies are less involved in clearing forests. But our community is very worried about the perpetrators who migrate from other provinces and fell trees to sell.

“For instance, 66 resin trees in the community were felled, costing villagers much of their income,” he said.

Rights group Adhoc’s provincial coordinator Lor Chan said forest destruction continues every day, without the taking authorities action. He suspects some people must be tipping off the loggers.

“I noticed that when officers went on patrols, the logging operations suddenly stopped and the perpetrators returned to their homes."

“We do not know from where the loggers got the information [about when patrols would take place] and I do not dare accuse an official of conspiring with traders, “ he said.

However, Environment Ministry official Chin Monorith denied claims of widespread logging, saying people are preparing to go to the polls.

“It’s like there is no action. Rangers report daily and say it’s been quiet, nothing remarkable. I see our people preparing for the election,” he said.

Kampong Thom province’s Prey Lang community coordinator Hoeun Sopheap said the Prey Lang Community Network in Dangkambit commune had been patrolling the forest alongside the ministry’s rangers.

A 15-man team patrolled the forest from July 15 to 17 and found four chainsaws and a cubic metre of wood, he said.

He claimed a few bad apples among the rangers are in cahoots with the illegal loggers. “Some rangers seem less concerned about protecting the forest, and some have conspired to hand over [confiscated wood] to smugglers,” he claimed.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen asks Cambodians to believe in government

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday asked citizens and investors to trust that the government will overcome the challenges brought about by Covid-19 and the loss of the EU’s Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme. Speaking to reporters at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh,

  • Westerdam passenger ‘never had’ Covid-19

    The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the US citizen that allegedly tested positive in Malaysia after travelling on the Westerdam was never infected with Covid-19 in the first place. In an article published in the newspaper USA Today on Friday, CDC

  • ‘Ghost staff’ found, $1.7M returned to state coffers

    The Ministry of Civil Service said more than seven billion riel ($1.7 million) in salaries for civil servants was returned to the state last year after it discovered that the books had been cooked to pay ‘ghost officials’. This is despite claims by the Ministry of

  • Woman wanted for killing own son

    Police in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district are on the lookout for a woman who allegedly hacked her son to death on Sunday in Stung Meanchey III commune. District police chief Meng Vimeandara identified the son as Chan Sokhom, 32. “The offender can’t escape forever.

  • H5N1 also poses deadly threat, ministry warns

    The Ministry of Health’s Communicable Disease Control (CDC) department has called on citizens to excise caution over H5N1 or bird flu that is spreading in the southern province of Vietnam. In a Facebook post, the department announced that it has made a series

  • Gloom hits Siem Reap tourism

    As the Kingdom’s overall tourism sector continued to grow last year, industry insiders in Siem Reap have expressed their deep concerns, citing a sharp drop in Chinese arrivals to the province beginning late last month. Cambodia earned $4.91 billion in international tourism revenue last year,