Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Forest crime still rampant: NGO

Forest crime still rampant: NGO

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Chea Hean inspects timber logging in Kampong Speu province on February 9. CHEA HEAN VIA FACEBOOK

Forest crime still rampant: NGO

Forest crime, including illegal logging and transportation of timber, is rampant in the Cardamom Mountains Wildlife Sanctuary, according to the environmental watchdog ACNCIPO.

ACNCIPO director Chea Hean told The Post on February 13 that during a patrol by his team, timber logs were found being transported out of the sanctuary’s forests on home-modified trucks. Those logs were brought to Kampong Speu province’s Oral district for sale to traders.

“According to what [the] loggers say, the sanctuary contains reach kol timber logs. They had cut them down and transported them out of the forests of the Central Cardamom Mountains,” he said.

According to the information his team had received, the loggers paid between 200,000-250,000 riel ($50-$60) to forest authorities to be allowed to remove the logs.

But Hean stressed that these are merely claims by illegal timber transporters and require a full investigation. “At this time, our team is continuing to investigate this case further to report to the Ministry of Environment and other stakeholders for further action,” he said.

Hean added that between February 9-12, his team discovered timber being transported out of three locations within the forests of the Central Cardamom Mountains.

Pursat provincial environment department director Kong Puthyra told The Post that authorities and local partner organisations had recently patrolled the area and discovered evidence of logging, but found only two to three bulldozers in one location.

“I do not deny [that we saw logging activity.] But the crime met with crackdown by our environmental officers and intervention from relevant institutions [such as] the Wildlife Alliance.

“We have striven to conduct the patrols, investigate and clamp down on the crimes,” he said.

He added that three days ago, officers seized two bulldozers and “sent two suspects to court”.

Puthyra said that when arrested, the loggers had often excused themselves by saying that, unable to find other work during the Covid-19 outbreak, they took the risk of logging in protected and conserved areas of the sanctuary out of desperation because they owed money to banks.

He said that while he sympathised with their financial plight, law enforcement officials are bound by duty to apprehend them. “[Ultimately,] if we see them commit wrongdoing, we must arrest them, educate them, fine them or send them to court to be punished according to legal procedures,” he said.

Puthyra also called on Pursat provincial environment department rangers to cooperate with partner organisations in regularly investigating natural resource crimes, and to increase patrols to tackle illegal logging in the province’s wildlife sanctuaries.


  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro