Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Logs seized in Stung Treng

Logs seized in Stung Treng

Officials from a joint committee inspect a stockpile of illegal timber at a Stung Treng province lumber mill late last week during an ongoing crackdown on illegal logging. ADHOC
Officials from a joint committee inspect a stockpile of illegal timber at a Stung Treng province lumber mill late last week during an ongoing crackdown on illegal logging. ADHOC

Logs seized in Stung Treng

The recently created nationwide anti-logging commission seized 300 logs of illegal timber at a sawmill near a Vietnamese graveyard in Stung Treng province on Friday.

Police, environmental, forestry and judicial officials under the commission’s purview are currently re-inspecting previously checked logging sites and warehouses in Stung Treng, and have been since late last week.

The commission did not explain the reason behind the re-inspections.

“In total, there are 300 pieces of timber lying behind the sawmill,” Sun Yeut, the provincial deputy prosecutor, said yesterday. “They are planks from kor koh and thnong trees – some are huge and some are small.”

Chea Pich, the provincial court prosecutor, said the authorities don’t know who was involved in logging the wood, but Hou Sam Ol, the provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, laid blame at the feet of Heng Samnieng, a Vietnamese national also known as “Grandma Prourng” in Preah Bat commune, where the sawmill is located.

Samnieng could not be reached for comment yesterday, though prosecutors said that she showed them a permit for trading timber yesterday.

According to Ol, Samnieng only acquired the permit in the last year or two, but had been operating illegally for years before that.

“She bought illegal timber. It is a big business – distributing domestically and exporting to Vietnam,” Ol said. “In the past, she did it illegally because corrupt authorities turned a blind eye to her business. They got monthly payments. It is typical."

The wood, concealed near the graveyard, was about 200 metres from Samnieng’s sawmill. Inspectors also found pieces of illegal wood inside some of the local villagers’ houses.

Chea Sokhoeun, of the conservation group Prey Lang Community Network, said that this timber was logged from Siem Pang, Siem Bok and Thala Barivat districts, with some of the land lying within the Prey Lang forest.

Pich, the prosecutor, said that suspected locals will be questioned before the case is sent to court.

In a separate timber case, a group of six rosewood loggers in Kampong Thom’s Prasat Balang district escaped arrest on Wednesday night when a local tipped them off to an upcoming raid by military police officers.

Khun Bunhou, military police commander in Kampong Thom’s Stoung district, said yesterday that though his officers inspected the site, the loggers managed to escape. The timber haul, cut into 16 logs, was transported to the district military police headquarters.

“The [rosewood] tree was a hundred years old. It is very big and worth more than $10,000,” Bunhou said.


  • Municipal hall releases map detailing colour coded Covid risks by commune

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng released an official map detailing the red, yellow and dark yellow zones within the city under the new lockdown orders for Phnom Penh announced on April 26. The designation of red, dark yellow and yellow corresponds to areas with high,

  • Inter-provincial travel ban lifted; Phnom Penh and Takmao not exempted

    The government on April 25 decided to lift the inter-provincial travel ban and the closure of tourist attractions across the country, effectively immediately. The travel ban and closures of all resorts were imposed on April 6 and 17 respectively in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19,

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • Phnom Penh, Takmao lockdown extended for another week

    The government late on April 26 announced an extension of lockdown in Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province for another seven days – or longer if residents do not comply with Covid-19 preventive measures and the community outbreak does not subside – until May 5. According

  • Gov't mulls extension of Phnom Penh, Takmao lockdown

    The Inter-ministerial National Commission for the Control and Enforcement of Lockdown held a video conference meeting on April 25 to review a draft document on the extension of lockdown in Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal province’s Takmao town. The meeting was chaired by Minister of

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a