Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Group estimates 152 Prey Lang forestry crimes in January



Group estimates 152 Prey Lang forestry crimes in January

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
According to a Prey Lang Community Network report, 152 forestry crimes were committed in January in Prey Lang forest’s four provinces. Photo supplied

Group estimates 152 Prey Lang forestry crimes in January

A report issued by the Prey Lang Community Network (PLCN) said 152 forestry crimes were committed in January in Prey Lang forest’s four provinces – Kampong Thom, Kratie, Preah Vihear and Stung Treng – the third highest number recorded since 2015, while a senior environment department official disputed the figures.

Preah Vihear province’s PCLN coordinating committee member Srey Thei told The Post on Thursday that crime in the forest had doubled because local authorities do not seem to take action.

Sometimes, he said, the PLCN invited the authorities to join their patrols, but it was told they were too busy. He said the patrol teams had fewer members than the people who actively commit crimes in the area.

The offenders are equipped with home-made guns, he said, so the community petrol team is often afraid to confront them. Some illegal hunters have tried to attack the patrols, Thei said.

“We need to ask for more task forces from the authorities. Our community can’t stop them, because the teams that commit offences are very powerful, and the authorities said they were busy,” he said.

Kheng Kho, a PLCN representative in Stung Treng province, said the figure of 152 forestry crimes was just a preliminary estimate.

The crimes are carried out both by local people and those from other provinces, he said and claimed that in several cases, the authorities had sold some land in Prey Lang forest to illegal traders who were not from the area.

“For example, a resident in the area told me that plots of forest land measuring 50m by 500m [are sold] for $1,500, while areas that have been cleared can be sold for between $3,000 and $5,000,” Kho said.

He said the crimes include clearing the forest, logging, and trafficking the illegal logs. The community patrol team works with environment officials to prevent the crimes occurring, Kho said, but with collaboration from officials, the illegal traders can easily traffic logs from the forest.

Stung Treng provincial environment department deputy director Lay Laro told The Post on Thursday that the PLCN report was false.

He said forestry crimes had reduced as a result of cooperation between environment department officers and other NGOs who protect and patrol the area. “Based on our plan, we patrol the area between 20 and 25 days per month,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • PM confirms community transmission, calls for unity

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the public to stay calm, unite and follow the Ministry of Health guidelines after the wife of a senior official tested positive for Covid-19 in the Kingdom’s first case of community transmission. The case has drawn criticism

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there

  • Cambodia lauded for fight against Covid-19

    Cambodia has drawn global accolades for its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a new report finding that the Kingdom has controlled the pandemic better than any other country in Asia. Dr Takeshi Kasai, director of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Western Pacific region,