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Ministry takes cut out of forest crime

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Rangers stopped 11,396 forest crimes in the past nine months. Heng Chivoan

Ministry takes cut out of forest crime

Ministry of Environment forest rangers stopped 11,396 forest crimes in 20 provinces in the past nine months.

In that period, 4,200 people were sent to court, 27,272 traps were removed and 601 guns were retrieved, according to the data obtained by The Post on Thursday.

Ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra said the environment ministry employs 1,200 forest rangers to prevent forest offences in protected areas.

“This is the result of the efforts of environment officers and forest rangers to protect and conserve our natural resources,” he said.

Forest rangers went on a total of 16,861 patrols. They collected 3,076 chainsaws, 126 vehicles, 104 tractors, 567 two-wheeled tractors, 481 motorbikes, 2,390 cubic metres of wood and issued 606 fines.

“Through the efforts of our forest rangers, large-scale forest offences no longer exist. There are still small-scale offences and it is still necessary to put in the effort to prevent and protect natural resources, forests and wildlife,” he said.

Mondulkiri forest activist Kroeung Tola said forest offences have dropped slightly through the work of forest rangers arresting those who encroach on land and cut trees on a small scale.

He said however that in the case of wood merchants and powerful tycoons with the honourific title Oknha, environment ministry officials are not able to stop them.

“The Royal Cambodian Armed Forces have detained Oknha who are wood merchants. For environment officials, they cannot detain any of them yet. We admire their work, but they bust only small cases,” he said.

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