Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Koh Kong on hunt for tree planters

Koh Kong on hunt for tree planters

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Authorities in Koh Kong province are on the hunt for people who illegally planted fruit trees at Botum Sakor National Park in Botum Sakor district. Koh Kong Provincial Hall

Koh Kong on hunt for tree planters

Authorities in Koh Kong province are on the hunt for people who illegally planted fruit trees at Botum Sakor National Park in Botum Sakor district.

Provincial governor Mithona Phouthorng told The Post on November 17 she had ordered an investigation into the illegal planting of jackfruit and coconut trees in the park after receiving complaints from residents.

“We want to know about this case. I’ve sent officials to investigate after receiving a written report and I will continue until we find the real target [perpetrators] before taking legal action,” she said.

Provincial deputy governor Ouk Pheaktra said park rangers had removed the jackfruit trees, while officials are working to identify those responsible for the planting.

Citing rangers, he said the trees were apparently planted at night.

He said the land where the coconut and jackfruit trees were planted were a far distance from each other and the land was the location where environmental officials used to plant luxury trees and sweet bamboo trees.

“We have not taken any action yet. We have to continue investigating at night because those people plant the trees at night. Although our park rangers take turns monitoring and inspecting the land in the Botum Sakor National Park, it is too large for us to monitor from all angles,” he said.

Pheaktra said some people see the land as vacant and plant trees there even though they know it is a national park for conservation and even after authorities explained to them many times.

Pheaktra refuted allegations that forest rangers had secretly planted the fruit trees. He said officers had instead strived to patrol and remove plants that were secretly planted.

He said he would send a detailed report to governor Phouthorng.

Provincial Department of Environment director Morm Phalla said people planted coconut and jackfruit trees in the park in an attempt to occupy the land, but were unable to do so as environment officials regularly patrolled and removed the plants.

“Our officers have patrolled but could not arrest the perpetrators because they only commit the act at night,” he said, warning that the authorities will eventually arrest the offenders.

According to Phalla, the park spans 17,000ha. It covers some villages, community land and protected land with resources such as forests, wildlife and many other biodiversities.

Provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc Thong Chan Dara said the unauthorised tree planting was not the work of locals.

“It is not the local people who sneak in and plant the trees. It’s the rich or powerful people who have connections with the local authorities and environment officials. Ordinary people dare not do it because environment officials have been inspecting and patrolling the park regularly. So when that story breaks, they accuse the people,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,

  • Angkor Beer, 30 Years of Prestige and Still Counting

    Let’s celebrate 30 years of prestige with Angkor Beer. In this 2022, Angkor Beer is 30 years old and has been staying with Cambodian hearts in all circumstances. Head of core beer portfolio, EmYuthousaid, “We have been with Cambodians for three decades now. We, ANGKOR Beer, pride