Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Forest abuse still rampant, says report

Forest abuse still rampant, says report

Forest abuse still rampant, says report

A network of Cambodian elites involving government officials, relatives of senior

officials, RCAF military units and well-connected business tycoons is continuing

to "cause severe damage to Cambodia's remaining forests" according to an

in-depth report released today by the UK-based NGO Global Witness (GW).

"A kleptocratic elite is stripping Cambodia's forests," reads the first

of the report's main findings.

"The last global forest cover survey by the Food and Agriculture Organization

(FAO) found that Cambodia had lost 29 percent of its primary tropical forest cover

over a five-year period," according to the report, a copy of which was obtained

by the Post.

"In many cases illegal logging is taking place under the guise of legally dubious

plantation developments and harvesting permits. Many of these plantations and permits

are being allocated to a small group of individuals who have close relations with

senior politicians."

The report details a number of logging syndicates with links to the highest levels

of government and says that they have been implicated in the following:

* large-scale illegal logging in the Prey Long forest, which is described as the

largest lowland evergreen forest in mainland Southeast Asia.

* Felling of thousands of resin-producing trees, which are protected under Cambodian


* Use of fraudulent transportation permits describing logs as lesser-valued firewood

which has cost the Cambodian government over a million dollars in lost tax revenue.

* The export to China of millions of dollars worth of plywood on which no taxes have

been paid.

Up until April 2003, Global Witness was also the Royal Government's official independent

monitor of Cambodia's forestry sector.

It is unlikely Global Witness' latest report, entitled "Cambodia's Family Trees:

illegal logging and the stripping of public assets by Cambodia's elites," will

be warmly welcomed by government officials.

Two thousand copies of GW's previous report on illegal logging in Cambodia entitled

"Taking a cut" were confiscated in February 2005 at Phnom Penh International

Airport by customs officials. The report documented illegal logging in the Phnom

Aural region, identifying the various companies and individuals involved.

GW says subsequently some of its local staff received threats from soldiers and that

five of its international staff were banned from entering the country. They eventually

closed their Phnom Penh office in September 2005.

For the newest report, Global Witness says it will be mailing hard copies to a list

of donors in Phnom Penh. The report in both Khmer and English will be available on

their website at www.globalwitness.org in both PDF and word formats.


  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman