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

  • All inbound flights set to face added scrutiny

    Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said on Monday that the ministry is monitoring all inbound flights, after it was announced that only those from Malaysia and Indonesia will be temporarily cancelled from August 1. Vandine said on Monday that the two countries were identified as

  • Flights from Indonesia, Malaysia cancelled

    A Ministry of Health official has warned of the possibility of Covid-19 spreading through community transmission after the total infected cases in the Kingdom rose to 225. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told reporters on Saturday that the possibility of community transmission cannot be overlooked and that

  • Man in quarantine dies of ‘overdose’

    The Ministry of Health on Thursday said a Cambodian migrant worker who died while being isolated at a quarantine centre in Tbong Khmum province’s Kroch Chhmar district may have died from syncope or overdose of tablets. In a statement, the ministry said the 21-year-old