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

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants