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

  • Serious flooding across country

    The Kampong Speu provincial Committee for Disaster Management on Wednesday issued an alert after non-stop heavy rain caused widespread flooding. In Koh Kong province, authorities are working with the disaster committee and the Cambodian Red Cross to assist those affected after more than 350 homes were

  • CNRP points to King in call for vote boycott

    Leaders of the former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) have taken a new tack in their call for a boycott of the national elections later this month. They are now claiming that the people should follow the King, who is expected to abide by tradition

  • Malaysian MP calls on his government to take stand on Cambodian elections

    A Malaysian parliamentarian raised concerns in his country on Wednesday about Cambodia’s July 29 national elections and urged his government to clarify its position on the subject, the Asean Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) said on Thursday. Wong Chen, a member of the People’s

  • Troop moves ‘won’t worry people’

    Senior officials at the Ministry of Defence and National Police said on Tuesday that riot training provided to the country’s police forces were aimed at preventing unexpected demonstrations and strikes before and after the July 29 national elections. The troop mobilisation, they said, would not