Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Illegal logs set ablaze in wildlife sanctuary



Illegal logs set ablaze in wildlife sanctuary

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Environmental officials inspect a site where traders illegally set fire to 300 logs of luxury timber in Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary in Ratanakkiri province. Photo supplied

Illegal logs set ablaze in wildlife sanctuary

Environment Ministry officials in Ratanakkiri province are hunting for timber traders who on Sunday set ablaze 300 logs of luxury wood in Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary, one of several protected areas raided by Vietnamese loggers in recent months.

Eng Phakdey, chief of the O’Lvak outpost inside the sanctuary, said the traders burned the logs in an apparent effort to destroy evidence after the wood was discovered in an area known as O’Khan Loeung in Chey Odom commune by villagers, who then tipped off authorities.

“Maybe the traders knew that we would go there so they burned it down before our force arrived,” Phakdey said. “We did not see anyone there or we would have made an arrest.”

The Post reported yesterday evidence of large-scale logging in Ratanakkiri province on behalf of Vietnamese timber traders, including in Lumphat district.

Activists monitoring the trade say they have tracked convoys of trucks hauling illegally felled timber across unofficial border crossings, as part of a “systematic” raid on the Kingdom’s eastern forests.

Environment Minister Say Sam Al, however, has claimed the operations were locally run and “small and scattered”.

Phakdey said the timber found on Sunday, a valuable species called thnong, was likely sourced from nearby Koh Nhek district in Mondulkiri province, as that type of tree could no longer be found in the sanctuary.

Thing Chet, chief of patrol stations in Lumphat, said only 30 percent of the logs were destroyed as rangers managed to contain the blaze.

Provincial Department of Environment Director Phon Khemerin said the suspects, if found, would face charges of timber trading and destroying evidence.

Khemerin declined to name any suspects, though local media outlets identified the Vietnamese trader as “Hiv” and his Cambodian associate as “Mr Phorn”.

MOST VIEWED

  • 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

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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