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

  • Hun Sen says Kingdom not a 'satellite country'

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said Cambodia had sent diplomatic notes to various embassies demonstrating its stance and clarifying allegations that the Kingdom is a satellite country of China which will allow it exclusive access to the Ream Naval Base in Preah Sihanouk province. The response

  • Vast Prince Manor fun park opens to much fanfare in Kandal

    Chinese-owned Prince Culture and Development Co Ltd officially launched the $85 million Prince Manor entertainment centre in Kandal province on Wednesday. Prince Manor is located along National Road 1, 20km from the centre of Phnom Penh. It is the first major theme park project in Cambodia and

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Cintri strike ends, workers’ contracts to be terminated

    CINTRI (Cambodia) Ltd rubbish collectors who have been on strike for the past 13 days agreed to return to work starting Wednesday evening after the company agreed to terminate their contracts at the end of January next year and provide seniority payments and other benefits to