Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Logging claims invite scepticism



Logging claims invite scepticism

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Environment Minister Say Samal holds a press conference to discuss the national resources of Cambodia. Pha Lina

Logging claims invite scepticism

Environment Minister Say Samal yesterday maintained that illegal logging operations in Cambodia were now limited to individuals felling a few trees at a time and that recent timber seizures were of logs felled long ago, claims met with scepticism by conservation observers.

The minister, who met with journalists yesterday, said that while logging cases were on the decline across the country, especially the northeast, local residents were still cutting a few trees as a means of income because they did not have jobs, though he was unable to provide any statistics to support the claim. Additionally, he said recent timber busts did not involve wood that had been cut down recently.

“You might see in the news that police or military police have cracked down [on an amount of] cubic metres of timber,” he said. “That timber was cut months ago and was just caught.”

He also dismissed claims that provincial officials were in cahoots with illegal loggers and said that if there were any such cases, action would be taken. A year ago, under the instructions of Prime Minister Hun Sen, a taskforce was created to stem the flow of illegal timber to Vietnam, with the premier even singling out two businessmen for carrying out such activities.

While the number of busts may have increased, experts have questioned whether the taskforce was effective in stopping illegal logging.

“Illegal logging activities have not slowed down, but instead have increased,” said Goldman-prize winning forest advocate Ouch Leng.

“Illegal loggers are even more blatant than they used to be before.”

He said logging by local residents was only a small part of the problem, adding that the focus instead needed to be on high-ranking officials and businessmen.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants