Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Huge timber busts in north

Huge timber busts in north

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Authorities in Ratanakkiri province seize over 50 pieces of luxury wook in Pak Nhai commune. National Military police

Huge timber busts in north

The Mondulkiri provincial authority on Wednesday refuted claims that it had turned a blind eye to illegal timber trafficking to neighbouring Vietnam.

The denial followed the discovery of over 500 pieces of first-grade timber by the National Military Police in protected areas and local media reports that provincial governor Svay Sam Eang had allowed three tycoons to transport timber from the protected Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary to Vietnam through the Dak Dam checkpoint.

“The provincial hall has never allowed such illegal timber trafficking to happen,” said a letter issued by the provincial hall.

Provincial environment department director Keo Sopheak said the National Military Police found more than 500 pieces of first-grade timber during a raid at the protected sanctuary in Koe Sima district, although no arrests were made.

“We are working on the case. The timber was seen deep in the forest and we’re probing to find out which company the timber belongs to. We’re also working to identify the offenders,” Sopheak said.

Governor Sam Eang said he was in a meeting and declined to comment.

Kratie provincial military police commander San Bunthan said he led the crackdown on August 13 after a tip-off.

Separately, Ratanakkiri provincial military police and the O’Yadav district governor on Tuesday seized at least 50 pieces of luxury wood in Pak Nhai commune. No arrest was made, according to the National Military Police’s Facebook page.

Goldman Environmental Prize-winning activist Ouch Leng, who has investigated forest crimes in the protected Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary and the Kingdom’s eastern provinces, expressed deep concern over the trafficking of rosewood, especially at Phnom Prich, where he claimed a group of tycoons plan to log and clear the forest.

“I can confirm the logging at Phnom Prich and I am aware that around five Okhnas are destroying the over 100,000 hectares of Phnom Prich.

“At least 80 trucks transport timber out of the sanctuary each day. Each truckload has some 100 tonnes of timber,” he said.

Leng said the Mondulkiri provincial hall’s denial is just “a statement to protect those timber traders. “We must dare to reveal the truth in the national interest,” he said.

In February, senior Mondulkiri provincial officials allegedly received bribes amounting to $170,000 from Vietnamese timber traders. Some of the officials including police, military officers and military police were demoted following the scandal.

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the