Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Activists take on dredgers

Activists take on dredgers

Sand-dredging ships and barges anchor along a section of the Andoung Tuek River in Koh Kong’s Botum Sakor district earlier this month.
Sand-dredging ships and barges anchor along a section of the Andoung Tuek River in Koh Kong’s Botum Sakor district earlier this month. MOTHER NATURE

Activists take on dredgers

More than 100 environmental activists and local community members yesterday continued a campaign to attempt to drive out “illegal” Vietnamese dredging boats extracting sand from the Andoung Tuek River in Koh Kong’s Botum Sakor district.

San Mala, a member of the environmental NGO Mother Nature, founded by deported activist Alex Gonzalez-Davidson, said two Vietnamese companies – International Rainbow Co Ltd and Direct Access Co – were using nearly 100 sand-dredging and transportation boats to illegally mine estuaries in the area despite calls to authorities to halt the companies’ operations in the area.

“We complained to authorities many times, but they seem to ignore it,” he said.

To combat what they consider unlawful and harmful activities, the activists, riding 12 fishing boats, yesterday proceeded to tail and board the dredging vehicles to peacefully get them to leave.

“[We] activists and community [members] used our force to chase them away,” Mala said.

Mala added that the companies received licences from the local Mining Department in 2009, but the permits were issued without requiring any sort of social or environmental impact assessments, which he says has led to the destruction of local ecosystems and livelihoods.

Pu Kun, a local resident who took part in the protest, said the companies’ operations were destroying fishing conditions in the river, and added that vigilance would be required to make sure they do not continue to dredge.

“They stopped driving their boats for awhile, but we think that they will continue their activities if we do not remain here,” he said.

Koh Kong Mining Department director Pich Siyon said that “the companies have licences from the government”.

However, Dith Tina, a spokesman for the Ministry of Mines and Energy, and both companies could not be reached.

MOST VIEWED

  • Forest Harmony’s $18M luxury villas break ground in Kampot

    Local and French joint-venture Forest Harmony has broken ground on its $18 million “second-home” Luxury Holiday Villas project in Kampot province. Century 21 Mekong CEO and local shareholder of the project Chrek Soknim told The Post that the project will comprise 90 villa units covering 18ha on a 97

  • US, Cambodia pledge to strengthen military ties

    The US on Tuesday pledged to help train military officers, particularly Cambodia’s blue helmet troops deployed for UN’s peacekeeping operations. The pledge was made during a meeting between US ambassador Patrick Murphy and Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) commander-in-chief General Vong Pisen. Further

  • Rights Day forum denied in Sihanoukville

    The Preah Sihanouk provincial administration last Saturday denied the request of land communities for a public location in the province to celebrate International Human Rights Day 2019 as the administration had already held forums to discuss land issues. However, the land community representatives said they would

  • Sokha lodges an appeal over treason case reaching court

    Kem Sokha, the president of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), has appealed against the decision to send his treason case to trial. Sokha’s legal team said their client was not satisfied with the decision of a Phnom Penh Municipal Court investigating

  • US imposes sanctions on Oknha Pheap and Kun Kim

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation expressed strong dismay on Monday over the designation of Cambodian tycoon Oknha Try Pheap and General Kun Kim under the US’ Global Magnitsky Act. “It is very disturbing when the public figures of a country become the

  • Gov’t approves $9B worth of building projects in 2019

    The government has approved more than $9 billion this year for capital investment in the construction sector, a nearly 80 per cent increase on last year, with most of the growth coming from projects in Sihanoukville, according to Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction Chea