Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Claims of timber going east



Claims of timber going east

Claims of timber going east

BRITISH environmentalists Global Witness claims proof from documents, secretly-filmed

testimonies and photographs that hundreds of millions of dollars worth of illegally

cut Cambodian timber is presently stockpiled in Vietnam.

The group says it has documents that it will release at Post press time of still

more timber - between 100,000 to 130,000 cubic meters - has been earmarked to cross

the Kingdom's eastern border.

It says that logs are now being cut in Preah Vihear, Ratanakiri and Mondulkiri, and

that all the cutting and trade is controlled by RCAF.

Group co-director Patrick Alley said that he had already seen stockpiles totalling

260,000 cubic meters in Gialai and Song Be provinces in Vietnam, at Qui Nhon port

and by the Saigon River near Ho Chi Minh City.

The group says the logs are worth $130 million, based on a price of $500 per cubic

meter, that was given to them by officials of the Vietnamese state forest product

corporation Vinafor.

Group co-director Simon Taylor told the Post by telephone that the proceeds to Cambodian

interests may be as little as $14 a cubic meter.

However, Taylor said he had recently received fresh documents that show another 130,000

cubic meters of logs had been signed from the Vietnamese Embassy in Phnom Penh to

Vinafor, via the command of RCAF Military Region No. 1.

The letter, dated Jan 15, said that the timber was ostensibly for domestic use, for

instance rebuilding hospitals and homes destroyed during Typhoon Linda last November.

"But the timber they're cutting is for the luxury market," Taylor said.

"We know that Vinafor has a subsidary called Forimexco 19, that deals exclusively

in the luxury garden furniture market."

Alley said: "This trade is illegal, the logging highly destructive and wasteful,

none of the money will go to the Cambodian Treasury, and most dangerously it will

fund the military and political parties, predominantly the CPP, in the lead-up to

the elections."

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants