Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Govt officials arrested in logging bust

Govt officials arrested in logging bust

Govt officials arrested in logging bust

FORESTRY officials in Pursat province have been arrested after being accused of involvement in illegal logging, authorities said, in what appears to be a continuation of a recent effort to crack down on the illicit practice.

The three officials were arrested last week on suspicion of being involved in the transportation of logs into Koh Kong province from neighbouring Pursat, a provincial government official in Koh Kong told the Post.

The official, who asked not to be named because he is not permitted to speak to the media, said authorities arrested the head of a district Forestry Administration office and an associate Saturday, as well as another official last Monday.

Military police spokesman Kheng Kito would only confirm that two Pursat forestry officials had been arrested for alleged involvement in illegal logging.

Contacted by the Post on Sunday, Koh Kong provincial court prosecutor Top Chhun Heng, who is handling the case, declined to comment.

The arrests come after Prime Minister Hun Sen warned military commanders in January that he would no longer tolerate illegal logging committed by high-ranking officials.

Since then, authorities have publicised seizures of illegal wood throughout the Kingdom.

Last Thursday, four forestry officials in Kampong Cham province were questioned by the provincial court after they were accused of illegal logging as well, according to Vong Sam Ath, a Memot district council member.

Officials prosecuted in previous crackdowns have not always been punished.

In 2006, former Ratanakkiri provincial governor Kham Khoeun was sentenced to 17 years in prison after being convicted of involvement in an illegal logging ring, but officials have said they believe he is currently living in Laos.

And though six other officials were convicted in the same case, only one is behind bars, according to Adhoc.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen ready to ‘break record’, says Rainsy lost

    Caretaker prime minister Hun Sen used a meeting with 18,400 factory workers on Wednesday to predict that he would beat the record for being the world’s longest-serving non-royal leader. He also used the platform to slam political opponent Sam Rainsy who he said had lost

  • Sihanoukville land prices skyrocketing amid breakneck development

    Sihanoukville, the Kingdom’s most famous beach destination for tourists, is seemingly becoming a paradise for Chinese investors as well. The huge influx of Chinese investors has caused property values to rise, especially the price of land, which has nearly doubled in some places near

  • US names new ambassador to Cambodia

    US President Donald Trump on Friday appointed W Patrick Murphy as the new US Ambassador to Cambodia, replacing incumbent William A Heidt. A press release posted on the White House’s website said nominee W Patrick Murphy is currently acting principal deputy assistant secretary at

  • Kingdom is at a crossroads between East, West after poll

    It was dubbed a success by caretaker prime minister Hun Sen after the electoral victory of his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), which is poised to take all seats in the National Assembly. But the July 29 national election has not been positively looked at by