Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Authorities halt ‘illegal’ logging

Authorities halt ‘illegal’ logging

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The authorities arrest a suspect and seize a truck and an excavator.

Authorities halt ‘illegal’ logging

The Pailin provincial environment department detained a man who allegedly cleared 23ha without a permit at Stung Kach commune in Sala Krao district, the provincial deputy prosecutor Thol Kimhoeng said on Thursday

The suspect, a truck and an excavator were held in the Tuesday crackdown carried out by a joint task force led by Sala Krao district governor Sam Saret, Kimhoeng said.

The landowners possess a legitimate land title, he said, but they did not have permission from the relevant authorities to clear their land.

“The owners must ask permission from the local authorities even if they have a land title. They didn’t clear a protected forest, but the authorities required that the landowners seek permission before clearing the land,” Kimhoeng said.

The case was forwarded to the provincial environment department, he added, by which the landowners would be fined before the authorities return the confiscated heavy vehicles.

Kem Sokha, director of the province’s environment department, could not be reached for comment.

Local media reported that Sokha had previously mentioned the “lack of authorisation to clear the land”, which led to the arrest of a suspect and the seizure of a truck and an excavator.

A district police officer who wished to be anonymous told The Post on Thursday that the suspect had informed the police that the land belongs to Heng Hak Mong who rented the heavy vehicles to clear the land to build residential buildings.

An attempt to reach Hak Mong for comments on Thursday was unsuccessful.

The Post obtained a November 15 letter from Pailin administration which stipulates that “the 236,946sqm land, registered under land title number 001216, 002518 and 000951, located at Phsar Prom Choeung village, Stung Kach commune, Sala Krao district, Pailin province, and owned by Heng Hak Mong and Chhay Sivan retains no dispute.”

Construction of a resort, casino, five-star hotel and six-star hotel are permitted on the land, it added.

Meanwhile, an Environment Ministry statement dated October 17 read that “upon inspection, a joint task force between the Ministry of Environment, Pailin authorities and the provincial environment department found that the land is not located in a protected area.

“It is private land whereby the owner is to be allowed to build residential properties, including flats, villas and hotels, as well as other types of development.”

The statement also showed that the ministry had suggested that the clearing process would abide by the master plan which had been submitted to the Environment Ministry to ensure the preservation of the nature surrounding it.

MOST VIEWED

  • Diplomatic passports issued to foreigners to be annulled

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will move to annul diplomatic passports issued to those not born in Cambodia. Analysts say the move may be in relation to reports that former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra used a Cambodian passport to register as

  • Hun Sen warns Irish MP of EBA ‘mistake’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday told former Irish premier Enda Kenny, still a member of the EU nation’s parliament, that the 28-nation bloc should not make a “third mistake” regarding Cambodia by using the preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement to “take 16 million

  • The hairy little heroes saving many lives in rural Cambodia

    IN RURAL Siem Reap province, rats dare to tread where no person will, as these hairy little heroes place their lives on the line each day for the good of the local community. The rodents are the most important members of a special team, leading

  • PM warns EU and opposition on 34th anniversary of his rule

    HUN Sen reached the milestone of 34 years as Cambodian prime minister on Monday and used the groundbreaking ceremony for a new ring road around Phnom Penh to tell the international community that putting sanctions on the Kingdom meant killing the opposition. “Please don’t forget