Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ethnic group claims forest being illegally cut



Ethnic group claims forest being illegally cut

Ethnic group claims forest being illegally cut

Villagers from the Tumpuon ethnic minority group in Keng San community forest are accusing the local authority and some community members of colluding with timber traders to illegally fell large trees and clear dozens of hectares of forest land in their community.

The forest borders the Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary in Ratanakiri province’s Lumphat district.

Representatives of the Kham Khin and Tumpuon ethnic minority groups told The Post on Thursday that most of the loggers came from different provinces. They have chainsaws and set up camps in the community forest in O’Krieng area for the past week.

The loggers sell timber to traders who will distribute them to various depots in the northeast provinces before exporting them to Vietnam.

“Recently, they also cleared 30 hectares of community forest with total disregard for the laws,” said Nin, a representative of the minority groups who gave only his first name.

“The loggers and traders are backed by local authorities who collude and permit them to commit forest crimes for personal gains,” he said.

Keng San villager Srout Sambok said the clearing also spread to natural streams and the last remaining area where the Tumpuon ethnic community villagers collect forestry products.

“Our community forest land, which is about 1,000 hectares and the only remaining forest, stretches from O’Krieng to Nam Lear Lake. But it is being cleared. An additional 30 hectares have been cleared recently by outside traders who colluded with local authorities.

“It would not take long before our community forest falls into the hands of traders because of negligence and collusion. We’ve lost trust in Nhok Kuot, the Keng San village chief and head of the Tumpuon ethnic community who often warned us against protesting,” Sambok said.

Kuot admitted Thursday that there are outside villagers logging trees in the protected forest area, but he denied the villagers’ allegations that the authorities’ colluded with the traders.

“It’s the villagers who secretly fell the trees every day to support their families,” Kuot claimed.

Adhoc’s senior land and natural resources officer Pen Bonna said the Keng San community forest is part of the Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary that is located on 4,000 hectares.

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • 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

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • 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