Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Border charcoal business a burning issue for residents

Border charcoal business a burning issue for residents

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Charcoal transported on the Vietnam border in Prey Veng on Sunday. FACEBOOK

Border charcoal business a burning issue for residents

Although officials claim that the production of charcoal seriously affects Cambodia’s forest resources, residents living near the Meun Chey international border checkpoint in Prey Veng province say truckloads of the product was sold near the crossing without ever being inspected by authorities.

Rin Sarom, 56, a resident of Krabao commune in Kamchay Mear district, told The Post on September 6 that over the past week many trucks had transported charcoal to sell near the Cambodia-Vietnam border and close to the checkpoint.

“At least 20 to 30 trucks a day transport charcoal from [neighbouring] Tbong Khmum province and pass through our village to sell to the Vietnamese brokers near the Meun Chey international border crossing,” he said.

“No authorities stop or check whether the charcoal is legal or not. They could sell the charcoal for 1,300 to 1,500 riel [$0.33 to $0.38] per kilogramme,” he said.

Kamchay Mear district police chief Khieu Sokhom told The Post that there was indeed charcoal being transported by 3.5-tonne trucks and trailers. However, he did not know if they were intended to be sold to the Vietnamese near the border.

“I only see people transporting charcoal for sale in our villages, communes and districts. I did not ask any questions because it is not within my jurisdiction. Besides, those charcoal sellers have never caused any problem,” he said.

Van Piseth, the head of Meun Chey checkpoint, acknowledged that there were people transporting charcoal to sell at the border. The business was allowed to continue because if it was stopped during this time it could affect people’s livelihoods. Some people could even lose their land and homes due to bank debt, he said.

“We do not always crack down on everything. At some point, authorities are also tolerant because charcoal is not an illegal product,” he said.

However, Prey Veng provincial Forestry Administration director Khim Oun told The Post that the transportation of forest products and by-products must have a permit issued by the authorities.

He said any kind of business, even a family business, must have a permit or patent issued by relevant institutions.

“The charcoal business needs to cut down trees from the forest and is banned because it affects national forest cover. The transportation of charcoal products from one province to another requires a permit from relevant authorities, otherwise it is an offence that can be fined according to the forestry law,” he said.

Oun said, however, that these activities are exempt in some cases. “From a legal point of view, we have to crack down, but if we crack down on everything, people will starve,” he said.


  • Wing Bank opens new branch in front of Orkide The Royal along Street 2004

    Wing Bank celebrates first anniversary as commercial bank with launch of brand-new branch. One year since officially launching with a commercial banking licence, Wing Bank on March 14 launched a new branch in front of Orkide The Royal along Street 2004. The launch was presided over by

  • Girl from Stung Meanchey dump now college grad living in Australia

    After finishing her foundational studies at Trinity College and earning a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Melbourne in 2022, Ron Sophy, a girl who once lived at the Stung Meanchey garbage dump and scavenged for things to sell, is now working at a private

  • Ministry using ChatGPT AI to ‘ease workload’; Khmer version planned

    The Digital Government Committee is planning to make a Khmer language version of popular artificial intelligence (AI) technology ChatGPT available to the public in the near future, following extensive testing. On March 9, the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications revealed that it has been using the

  • Wat Phnom hornbills attract tourists, locals

    Thanks to the arrival of a friendly flock of great hornbills, Hour Rithy, a former aviculturist – or raiser of birds – in Kratie province turned Phnom Penh tuk tuk driver, has seen a partial return to his former profession. He has become something of a guide

  • Ministry orders all schools, public and private, to close for SEA Games

    From April 20 to May 18, all public and private educational institutions will be closed to maintain order and support Cambodia's hosting of the 32nd SEA Games and 12th ASEAN Para Games, said a directive from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport. Cambodia will host the

  • Almost 9K tourists see equinox sunrise at Angkor Wat

    Nearly 9,000 visitors – including 2,226 international tourists – gathered at Angkor Wat on March 21 to view the spring equinox sunrise, according to a senior official of the Siem Reap provinical tourism department. Ngov Seng Kak, director of the department, said a total of 8,726 people visited Angkor Wat to