Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kratie forestry officer moved up after filmed seeking bribes




Kratie forestry officer moved up after filmed seeking bribes

Vans are loaded with lumber that has been cut into pepper posts last year in Kratie province.
Vans are loaded with lumber that has been cut into pepper posts last year in Kratie province. Pha Lina

Kratie forestry officer moved up after filmed seeking bribes

A Forestry Administration officer in Kratie’s Chhlong district was transferred to the provincial level on Tuesday after he was filmed asking for bribes from people illegally transporting logged trees for use as stakes on pepper farms, an official said yesterday.

Khoun Chivin was filmed demanding $10 per vanload of the non-luxury cut logs used to support the growth of pepper plants, an increasingly popular crop adding to deforestation in the east, Provincial Agriculture Department Chief Kuy Huot said yesterday.

“We transferred him to the Kratie Provincial Administration,” Huot said. “For the administrative measures at the department, first we transfer and educate him, and if after we have educated him he does not change, then we will have more measures.”

Rising pepper prices have led to an increase in the past few years of the logging of already-depleted forests for use as stakes to support the plants, with numerous reports since of authorities accepting small bribes to allow for the transport of the non-luxury wood without permits.

In a video shared on Facebook and later posted to the government-aligned news site Fresh News, Chivin can be seen and heard demanding the bribes from a pepper-stake smuggler, who protests the requested amount by saying that the Military Police took less.

Khoun Chivin, a Kratie Forestry Administration official was arrested and charged with forestry offences and abuse of power
Khoun Chivin, a Kratie Forestry Administration official was arrested and charged with forestry offences and abuse of power. Photo supplied

“Let’s go together, and I will call the boss in advance,” Chivin says to the man, threatening to bring him in for illegally transporting wood if he refuses to pay the bribe. “Now we are taking $10 per vehicle, or for the small ones 15,000 riel [about $3.75],” he says.

The smuggler replies: “Pepper is [worth] so little, brother, why are you taking so much money? . . . If I call the Military Police, they only charge 10,000 riel [$2.50],” leading Chivin to protest that he needs the money for petrol for his car after doing forestry patrols.

“Make it quick,” he says. “If I just confiscate your vehicles, I could sell them for 2 or 3 million riel [about $500 to $750].”

Chea Sopheak, a spokesperson for the provincial court’s prosecutors, said the court was aware of the transfer of Chivin to the provincial level for “education” against taking bribes, but had not yet decided whether to also pursue further action against him.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • ‘Bad news is an investor’s best friend’ – unlocking investment potential in Cambodia

    It is time to shop. Economic woes provide good pickings for investors if they know where to look The poem If, written by English Nobel laureate poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling for his son circa 1895, is widely perceived as fatherly advice for John who would

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped

  • Kingdom, China rebut basis for US sanctions

    The Council for the Development of Cambodia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Tianjin Union Investment Development Group Co Ltd (Tianjin) have responded to US sanctions on Union Development Group Co Ltd (UDG), a Chinese-owned company currently developing the sprawling $3.8 billion Dara

  • PM requests Russia’s Covid vaccine

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Russia provide Cambodia with its Covid-19 vaccine after the former announced it planned on mass vaccinating its population next month. The request came on Thursday through the prime minister’s Facebook page as he met with Anatoly Borovik,

  • Influenza breaks out in eight provinces

    Nearly 600 people have been infected with influenza in eight provinces in the past month, Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said. The ministry is advising extreme caution. A report released by Vandine on Saturday said the Ministry of Health observed transmissions of influenza between August 15