A forest activist in Mondulkiri province has requested the National Committee for Prevention and Crackdown on Natural Resource Crimes to re-investigate forestry crimes linked to Lim Royal Joint Stock Co Ltd.
Heng Sros, an activist who investigates forest crimes in northern Cambodia, told The Post on Tuesday that the committee should not merely check Lim Royal’s timber warehouse and then claim that the company was not involved in forestry crime.
“They must investigate the compound of the economic land concession. They must collect all evidence and information. Did the company commit any crimes? And if so, since when?” said Sros.
He said villagers living near the compound have claimed that the company logs trees at wildlife sanctuaries – especially at Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary – and passes the timber off as being obtained from within their economic land concessions.
He said the company, which is owned by tycoon Lim Bunna, is well-known in the province for its illegal logging for both local distribution and sale to Vietnam.
The Ministry of Environment in 2012 granted Lim Royal a 50-year economic land concession licence on 9,068ha of land in the province’s Koh Nhek and Pech Chreada districts.
Sros said there are six companies in Koh Nhek district which are notorious for cutting down trees outside of their economic land concessions.
Speaking at a press conference on July 18, Committee spokesman Eng Hy said a preliminary investigation showed that five of the six firms are facing licence revocation, but that Lim Royal was not found to be involved in forestry crimes.
Hy told The Post on Tuesday that those who claimed Lim Royal was involved in forestry crimes should file a complaint with the provincial court and be witnesses in an investigation.
“File a complaint and an investigation will be launched because the local authorities from part of the committee,” he said.
However, a source close to Lim Royal who asked to remain anonymous alleged to The Post that the company had formed several “groups” to cut down trees in Phnom Prich and Keo Seima wildlife sanctuaries, guaranteeing them of a way to skirt authorities and sell the timber to the company.
The source claimed that around $18,000 must be paid to officers for each lorry to ferry timber from Mondulkiri province to Vietnam.
The remaining timber is alleged to be processed at a large warehouse located in a special economic zone in Snuol district’s Trapaing Sre village in Kratie province and is distributed to a Chinese-owned subsidiary which supplies hotels mainly in Preah Sihanouk province, the source claimed.