Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Forestry crimes triple, but fines down: report



Forestry crimes triple, but fines down: report

Authorities search a section of state forest in Pursat province on Tuesday after it was cleared illegally. Forestry Administration
Authorities search a section of state forest in Pursat province on Tuesday after it was cleared illegally. Forestry Administration

Forestry crimes triple, but fines down: report

Illegal forest clearing is taking place at about three times the rate it did last year, but fines for forestry and wildlife crimes have fallen dramatically, according to a progress report released last week by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forests and Fisheries (MAFF).

The report catalogues all statistics from the ministry for the first nine months of the year, and shows markedly different figures across the board to the figures in the same report released last year.

Though a new anti-logging task force was created on Prime Minister Hun Sen’s orders at the start of the year, seizures of chainsaws through October were little more than half what they were in the same period last year – down to 249 from 452 – according to the report.

Similarly, while 1,653 forestry and wildlife crime suspects were sent to court during the first nine months of 2015, the figure was only 1,166 this year. For 2015, 487 cases resulted in fines, whereas this year’s report notes that only 293 fines were levied.

Despite the reduced figures, the report notes that almost three times more wood had been confiscated through October. Last year’s report noted 4,163 cubic metres of seized wood, while this year’s noted 12,089 cubic metres.

Eng Hy, spokesman for the national military police, whose commander Sao Sokha was appointed to lead the anti-logging taskforce by Hun Sen, declined to comment on the MAFF figures yesterday, referring questions to the Forestry Administration (FA).

“Ask the Forestry Administration, they know about this because they made the report,” he said.FA chief Chheng Kimsum also declined to comment on the figures, saying he had not yet read the report. MAFF spokesman Lor Raksmey could not be reached for comment.

MAFF and the Environment Ministry in April swapped jurisdictional control of a number of protected areas, with the Environment Ministry taking on a number of MAFF’s old conservation duties.

Environment Ministry spokesman Eang Sophalleth said that while the ministry had not yet set up its own mechanisms to track arrests and seizures of wood, daily reports indicated that authorities were taking “a lot of action” to end forest crimes.

Separately, Phnom Kravanh district police chief Vong Savath said his forces earlier this week arrested Chea Saro, 55, for inciting 15 villagers to clear protected forests so he could sell the land on behalf of others. Saro was sent to court on Wednesday, and the villagers were educated and released, Savath said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia's cluster cases jump to 259

    The Ministry of Health on February 27 recorded 26 more cases of Covid-19 linked to the February 20 community transmission, bringing the total to 259 in one week. The 26 include three Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. The ministry noted that five of the Chinese