Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Loggers arrested while posing as NGO workers

Loggers arrested while posing as NGO workers

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A NGO director, Chea Hean poses for a photograph during an inspection for illegal timber transportation busts last month in Kampong Speu province. Photo supplied

Loggers arrested while posing as NGO workers

Police on Monday arrested three men accused of extorting illegal loggers in Pursat province while trying to pass themselves off as NGO workers.

Seven complaints were lodged against the alleged extortionists, alerting police to their activities.

Krakor district police chief Em Ron said that suspects Horn Heng, 47, and Heng Hong, 43, claimed to be deputy technical directors of an apparently spurious organisation called Protected Forest and Wildlife, while Ly Long, 23, was their driver.

“We received one complaint from one person that they had extorted her to pay 200,000 riel [about $50] but she begged to pay only 100,000 riel,” Ron said.

The case is just the latest example of a Cambodian phenomenon in which extortionists pose as “journalists” or “environmentalists” in order to track down illegal loggers and demand bribes in exchange for their silence.

An additional six complaints had been filed in Kampong Chhnang, where the group allegedly demanded between 10,000 riel ($2.50) and 300,000 riel ($75) at a time.

Ron said the woman who filed the Pursat complaint would not be pursued for illegal logging as she was merely transporting wood to build a house.

Lor Reaksmey, spokesperson for the Agriculture Ministry, said the legality of such timber “depends on where the wood comes from”.

“If it comes from a protected area, it is illegal,” he said, but hinted that people carrying small amounts of wood for cooking was not.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ethnic group ‘disappointed’ to be denied French visas to attend court

    Eleven people at the centre of a case involving seven indigenous Bunong villages in Mondulkiri province pursuing legal action in France have expressed disappointment after the French embassy in Phnom Penh denied their visa applications to attend court. A press release said the 11 included a

  • Cambodia nabs 12th place in best retirement destinations

    Cambodia is an expatriate hotspot for those dreaming of living a more luxurious lifestyle at an affordable cost, according to International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2019. For the fourth year in a row, Cambodia took the top spot in the Cost of Living category.

  • EU starts EBA withdrawal

    The EU on Monday announced that it has begun the 18-month process of withdrawing the Kingdom’s access to its preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement over “a deterioration of democracy [and] respect for human rights”. However, the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) said

  • PM: War result of foreign meddling

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Sunday that Cambodia’s recent history of conflict was caused by foreign interference. “The wars that happened were caused by provocation, incitement, support, smearing and interference from foreign powers, and the group of ignorant people who pushed Cambodia to