At least 100 cubic meters of illegal wood is being exported every day to Thailand
from Koh Kong, according to district environment officials.
Koh Kape village chief Sen Chantha said that locals report at least six boats a day
loaded with timber are leaving the district for Thailand.
He said villagers were annoyed that the district police headquarters ignored the
illegal exports which sailed past their window everyday.
Sao Sinthun director of Koh Kong's Environment Department agreed illegal logging
was on the increase in the area and he blamed district officials who he said were
involved in the trade either directly as sellers or as middle men who demanded 2000
baht toll per boat.
He added that he believed the day time shipments were matched or exceeded by those
that went out at night.
Sinthun acknowledged that the villagers had a right to be angry with authorities
for refusing to crack down on the practise and he said they now had little faith
that illegal logging could be halted.
But he said if they could get the district officials to co-operate they could wipe
out the practise.
"If the local authorities did not allow the illegal export of wood I am sure
that not even a leaf could be exported from the area," he said angrily