Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Minister calls for ban on chainsaw imports

Minister calls for ban on chainsaw imports

Minister calls for ban on chainsaw imports

A ban on the importation of chainsaws into Cambodia could be in the offing, after agriculture officials this week called for a nationwide crackdown on the illegal logging trade.

The call for a chainsaw ban by Agriculture Minister Ouk Rabun on Monday followed the release earlier this month of an official half-year report from the ministry, which claims that forestry crimes had decreased slightly compared to the same period last year.

Rabun, speaking on Monday, urged the Forestry Administration to curb the availability of chainsaws in rural areas.

Eang Sophalleth, an undersecretary of state at the Agriculture Ministry, said a nationwide crackdown on illegal loggers would be launched in the near future.

“The ministry and Forestry Administration are calling for a crackdown on these activities and a nationwide curbing of [illegal logging] will soon occur to try to control the problem,” he said.

Over the past two decades, numerous “logging crackdowns” have been announced by the government; however, forest monitors report that they rarely have any discernible positive impact on the ground.

Lor Chan, Preah Vihear provincial coordinator for local rights group Adhoc, said he had not observed any attempts to limit the availability of chainsaws at markets since orders were given to prohibit their sale.

“Measures should be taken on both the vendors and the customers,” he said.

Most of the chainsaws that Adhoc has discovered on sale in markets in the province are sourced from Vietnam and China, he added.

The six-month report from the Agriculture Ministry included data on forest crimes, which it claims are slightly down compared to the first half of 2014.

It said that 1,064 forest crimes had been recorded so far this year, compared with 1,104 last year. Of the crimes this year, almost 800 resulted in court cases and 273 fines were issued.

Despite fewer crimes being recorded, the ministry said more timber had been confiscated, along with 265 chainsaws.

Stella Anastasia of Adhoc said via email that it while it was not possible to verify the data in the report, any drop in forest crimes was unlikely to be related to government actions.

“Communities are increasingly organising forest patrols to fight deforestation and prevent illegal loggers . . . And this [is] mainly in response to the inactivity of authorities,” she said, adding that previous “crackdowns” only targeted small-time loggers.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY REBECCA MOSS

MOST VIEWED

  • US to ramp up sanctions after ‘flawed’ national polls

    At a press conference on Wednesday, the US State Department announced that it would expand visa sanctions on the Cambodian officials and individuals it deems responsible for “undermining democracy” in Cambodia. At the briefing, spokesperson Heather Nauert reiterated that the department regarded the July 29 elections

  • Final poll results confirm first single-party Assembly

    IN an unprecedented situation in Cambodian politics, the official results of the July 29 national elections have declared that the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) will take all 125 seats in the National Assembly on the back of it receiving 76 per cent of the votes. The National

  • PM's Bodyguard commander hits back at US

    The commander of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Bodyguard Unit (BGU) Hing Bun Heang on Sunday dismissed a short video clip that went viral on social media in which he says he is preparing for a war with the United States over its aggressiveness towards

  • Chinese influence to sweep Kingdom?

    Growing Cambodia-China ties have seen the latter’s influence sweep across the Kingdom through increased investments and tourism. The Asian giant has become the leading source of foreign funds in Cambodia, fuelling the construction sector with huge casino and hotel projects. Much of the growth