Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - New approach to patrolling forest in place after shooting

New approach to patrolling forest in place after shooting

Authorities in Preah Vihear province examine the site of a night-time ambush that saw two law enforcement officers gunned down in November. Photo supplied
Authorities in Preah Vihear province examine the site of a night-time ambush that saw two law enforcement officers gunned down in November. Photo supplied

New approach to patrolling forest in place after shooting

Almost three months after two officers were murdered while on an anti-logging patrol in Preah Vihear protected forest, patrol teams in the area have changed tactics to improve safety and compensate for the loss of staff who resigned in the wake of the shootings.

The new strategy, started this month, was devised at an intensive nine-day training course organised in response to the killings and held in January by the Wildlife Conservation Society – which jointly manages the forest with the Forest Administration, which organise the patrols.

WCS technical adviser Alistair Mould said instead of small groups covering the areas surrounding five substations, one larger dedicated mobile unit would be assigned to scour the forest for poachers and illegal loggers.

The sub-stations will still be manned and able to respond in emergencies, Mould said, explaining that coverage, while reduced, would be “more focused”.

“This is our response to help improve the effectiveness of what the patrols are doing and counter this increase in illegal threats,” the WCS technical adviser said.

“The strategy is on an interim basis until the number of patrol team staff has increased within the protected forest.”

District police officer Sap Yuos and forestry officer Seang Darong were shot dead during an anti-illegal logging patrol on November 7, hours after they had confiscated seven chainsaws from illegal loggers.

Six loggers with alleged military ties and a soldier were arrested in the wake of the shooting, but nobody has been charged with the killings.

The Forestry Administration cooperates with local, provincial, border and military police, as well as the army, to patrol protected forests.

Speaking yesterday, the Forestry Administration’s Khim Pann, project manager for Preah Vihear Protected Forest, said two members of the patrol team resigned following the shooting, while three more, who were members of the military, were recalled to their base, leaving their force with just 12 people.

He said members of commune, regional and district forestry offices would be called upon to bolster the team’s numbers.

“After the shooting, some of our team were afraid, some resigned,” he said.

“The new approach, with a bigger group, is much safer when we are patrolling for illegal loggers and wildlife poachers.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Government set to slash holidays

    The private sector has welcomed the government’s move to reduce the number of public holidays in the in the Kingdom – known for having the most public holidays in the world – by seven days. However, the government had just added the “Day of Remembrance” on

  • Kith Theang being held in PJ prison

    Kith Theang, the brother of prominent businessman Kith Meng, was charged by Phnom Penh Municipal Court late on Monday and sent to the capital’s Police Judiciare (PJ) prison over the nearly 50kg of drugs found in a February 23 raid by authorities on the Rock

  • Farmers told not to plant next rice crop

    THE Ministry of Environment has told Cambodian rice farmers to refrain from planting crops in the midst of a drought heightened by record temperatures due to this year’s El Nino phenomenon. Temperatures are expected to peak in April and May. “Every year, [farmers usually]

  • ‘Kingdom lacks up to 400MW in available electricity’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the general public, hoteliers and businesspeople with generators to use them as back-up as the Electricity Authority of Cambodia cannot generate enough electricity to meet needs due to low water levels in power station reservoirs. On Saturday evening