Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Forest crime ‘rife’ at Prey Lang

Forest crime ‘rife’ at Prey Lang

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Authorities are unable to stamp out forest crime across Prey Lang, members of Prey Lang Community Network claimed on Sunday. Supplied

Forest crime ‘rife’ at Prey Lang

A Prey Lang Community Network (PLCN) member in Thmea commune, in Preah Vihear province’s Chey Sen district, on Sunday claimed that authorities are unable to stamp out forest crime in the nature reserve, instances of which have been occurring for months.

Chan Sarin, a PLCN member in the commune’s Thmea village, told The Post on Sunday that currently at least 10 loggers were engaged in illegal logging in Prey Lang across the commune.

On a recent forest patrol, he said he and three other members had photographed timber being taken out of the forest from Chey Sen district’s Thmea commune for processing in neighbouring Chheb district. The next day, environmental rangers from Thmea station visited the area, but the crimes continued unabated, Sarin said.

“Environmental rangers went there but carried nothing out. Maybe they [the rangers] just paid a visit. Logging is still happening. In short, the authorities are not paying enough attention to the loss of our forest,” Sarin said.

He added that they had asked the rangers to patrol the forest with them, but they claimed they were busy.

Srey Thei, a PLCN coordinator in Preah Vihear, on Sunday claimed that on a single day at least a few trucks were seen transporting timber from the area. Each tree was sizeable, he said, between 50 and 100cm in diameter and 6m long.

The loggers were from other provinces, Thei said.

“Only at the national level can authorities stamp out these ongoing crimes. The logging has been happening since the middle of last year,” he said.

Van Suy, an environmental ranger stationed in Thmea commune, said joint forces, including the police, had attended the scenes of illegal logging, but when they arrived, the loggers had already escaped having been warned in advance.

“When we went there, it was quiet, but when we left, the loggers continued cutting down trees again. It’s difficult. The trees were logged and already transported away. We did not see the loggers,” he said.

“Some villagers love the natural resources and help us protect the forest, but some destroy it,” he added, claiming a lack of rangers aided the loggers.

Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary chief Meas Nhem acknowledged that illegal logging occurred inside the nature reserve, but said his rangers cracked down on forest crime and sent the cases to court.

Some local villagers would engage in logging when traders offered to buy the timber, he said.

“There are more than 100,000ha of forest and there are only 10 [rangers],” he said, adding that when rangers moved in to tackle logging, the perpetrators moved elsewhere.

Ang Cheatlom, the executive director of Ponlok Khmer, an NGO in Preah Vihear that supports ethnic minorities in their efforts to protect their land rights, said it was aware of cases of logging in the Prey Lang nature reserve almost every day.

He said any crackdown from authorities just made loggers inactive for a while.

“Law enforcement officials really need to crack down on these crimes and government officials must take the law seriously and not tolerate [logging],” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ministry issues warning over coronavirus outbreak

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday asked the public to be on “high alert” as a new virus wreaks havoc across Asia. However, no cases have been reported in the Kingdom thus far. The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has raised the alarm for its similarity to

  • First case of coronavirus reported in the Kingdom

    Cambodia reported its first case of the deadly 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) on Monday, Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng announced. He said medical specialists detected the virus in a Chinese tourist in Sihanoukville. The minister said Jia Jianhua, 60, travelled from Wuhan city, where the outbreak

  • PM urges precaution amid virus outbreak

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday called on all Cambodians to bump up precautions to avoid contracting the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that has already killed more than 50 people in China. The prime minister told the public to remain calm but alert about the possibility of

  • Gov’t slams NGO over 2019 corruption report

    The government on Thursday slammed a report that described the Kingdom as highly corrupt. Government spokesperson Phay Siphan dismissed the latest Transparency International (TI) report as “just an advertisement of NGOs to promote their own interests”. Released on Thursday, the report puts Cambodia near the

  • NBC’s digital payments to go live in next few months

    The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) will launch a Blockchain-based, peer-to-peer payment and money transfer platform in the next few months, its director-general Chea Serey told The Post on Monday. Dubbed ‘Project Bakong’, the scheme already has the support of 11 banks, with many more expected

  • Gov’t answers garment buyers’ complaint

    Some of the biggest buyers in the Kingdom’s garment sector have urged Prime Minister Hun Sen to address issues faced by unions and workers – a request a senior official said was out of touch with the situation on the ground. The letter addressed to