Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Forest patrol catches loggers

Forest patrol catches loggers

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Loggers caught by a Prey Lang Community Network patrol are seen at their camp after they were found in Preah Vihear province’s Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary last week. Photo supplied

Forest patrol catches loggers

Ten men were caught engaged in illegal logging during a three-day patrol by the Prey Lang Community Network (PLCN) that began on Friday.

This led a representative of the group to declare that illegal logging at the Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary in Preah Vihear province “is continuing unabated”. Seventeen PLCN members, and authorities from Chey Sen district’s Thmea commune, were involved in the three-day patrol at the sanctuary.

Srey They, a patroller, said they witnessed several crimes that contravened forestry laws and arrested the 10 loggers. The team also confiscated 12 chainsaws and 90 litres of petrol. He said the arrests involved four different incidents.

“In one arrest, [the alleged illegal loggers] were in the process of felling resin trees with chainsaws. The wood was to be used as home construction materials.

“There were about 50 cubic metres of timber that they had logged, but we could not seize it as we did not have tractors to transport it out of the forest,” They said, adding that the suspects were from Kampong Thom, Kratie and Kampot provinces.

When one team of loggers were questioned, they allegedly confessed that they were employed by men they knew only as Dy and Mao.

The loggers were paid $37.50 per cubic metre of sawn timber and allegedly claimed that they had to “grease” a few palms along the way as a necessity.

“It’s frustrating,” They said. “Sawn timber was transported in front of officials, but they did not stop it. “I asked the loggers how they felled the trees without being detected, and they said their employers had already paid off the relevant officials. Only the people from the commune refused to take money.”

The 10 who were arrested during the patrol were released after questioning and warned not to repeat the crime again. In addition to illegal logging, the patrol spotted villagers hunting wildlife with an AK-47 and home-made rifles. They said most of the illegal activities took place at night. The patrol noticed that the forest crimes were happening unabated, and sometimes five heavy trucks transported timber at night.

Thmea commune police chief Ley Tuon said one of his officers, who joined the patrol to protect the team from being attacked by illegal loggers, believes forest crimes were being carried out on a small scale only.

“People will log wood and sell it for their livelihood. But when the community goes out patrolling, they stop for a while,” Tuon said.

Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary Deputy Director Chin Monorith said some forestry crimes were carried out by residents in the area.

“Some villagers received permission to log timber as construction material to build homes, but they would then fell more trees to sell for an income. Some crimes occurred at night, but it is difficult to crack down on them as we do not have enough rangers and weapons,” Monorith said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen to the rescue

    Cambodia has won praise for allowing passengers of the MS Westerdam cruise ship to dock at Preah Sihanouk port, thanks to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s humanitarian act. In a message via Twitter on Wednesday, the director-general of the World Health Organisation Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu

  • PM orders immediate action against ‘sexy’ live streamers

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday ordered immediate action against women who live stream their sales pitches on Facebook wearing revealing clothing. The prime minister said the practice erodes traditional Cambodian values and disgraces women. Hun Sen gave the order to officials attending the Cambodian

  • Trump tweets praise for Kingdom docking ship

    Cambodia continues to earn praise for its humanitarian act of allowing the MS Westerdam cruise ship with more than 2,200 passengers and crew on board to dock at the Preah Sihanouk port. The praise this time comes from none other than US President Donald Trump. “Thank

  • Tourist area greenlit in Sihanoukville

    The National Committee for Coastal Management and Development will coordinate with relevant ministries over the establishment of a billion-dollar tourist area named Neak Reach in Preah Sihanouk province after it was proposed by the Ministry of Tourism. The Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and

  • PM issues human rights circular

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday issued a circular urging officials at all levels to work more closely with the Cambodia Human Rights Committee (CHRC) to protect human rights in Cambodia. In the circular, Hun Sen urged all institutions to collaborate closely with CHRC, including

  • Organic vegetable retailer unveils QR code scheme for origin source

    Organic vegetable retailer Natural Agriculture Village has introduced QR codes on its product packaging, which will allow consumers to see where their produce comes from. Natural Agriculture Village president Bun Sieng, who is also a member of local distributor Green Gold, told The Post on