Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Charcoal sellers accuse cops of extortion



Charcoal sellers accuse cops of extortion

Charcoal sellers accuse cops of extortion

Border police in Oddar Meanchey province have been accused of extorting money from charcoal sellers and colluding with Thai brokers to smuggle the goods to Thailand.

Twenty-one charcoal producers representing 100 families in Oddar Meanchey’s Banteay Ampil district in a letter to the Post yesterday called on the authorities to intervene in what they said was a 60-ton-a-day illegal export business.

Lay Virak, 35, one of the letter’s signatories, said they were being forced to pay up to 20,000 riel ($5) to forestry officials and police officers who threatened to arrest them and seize their goods.

“They banned us from making and selling charcoal by making an excuse that it’s bad for the forest and environment. In fact, they put pressure on us to quit this career so it will be easy for a border police official to monopolise the business,” he said.

For more than a year, he claimed, a local police officer named Keo Thanak had run his own charcoal business, forcing loggers to sell to him at the lowest possible price.

“He forced us to sell [charcoal] to him at a cheaper price, or he will quarrel with us. He just wants to monopolise the business and does not want us to survive,” Virak added.

Hong Chamroeurn, Banteay Ompil district police chief, yesterday denied the allegations, claiming instead that people may be posing as police officers to extort the money.

“My police did not take money, because charcoal sellers only make small money to live,” he said, asking charcoal vendors to report crimes to the police.

Hor Chinvirakyuth, O’Smach checkpoint director, also denied the allegations, saying there are no charcoal exports to Thailand.

“We do not allow any charcoal exports to Thailand. It is illegal,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Ministry mulls ASEAN+3 travel bubble

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to launch a travel bubble allowing transit between Cambodia and 12 other regional countries in a bid to resuscitate the tourism sector amid crushing impact of the ongoing spread of Covid-19, Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post on

  • Courts’ decisions now published as reference source

    The Ministry of Justice has published 44 verdicts from civil litigation cases which can be used as models for court precedents and for study by the public and those who work in pertinent fields. Publication of the verdicts on December 31 came as the result of joint

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • Quarantine site in north Phnom Penh inaugurated

    A four-building quarantine centre in Phnom Penh’s Prek Pnov district was formally inaugurated on January 6. The centre can house up to 500 people, according to Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng. At the inauguration ceremony, Sreng said the municipal hall had cooperated with the Ministry

  • China firm to develop Mondulkiri airport

    Tourism to the Kingdom’s northeast corridor could experience a remarkable metamorphosis after the government decided in principle of a Chinese company to study and develop a proposal to build a regional-level airport in Mondulkiri province, according to industry insiders. The Council of Ministers said