Natural Resource and Wildlife Preservation Organisation director Chea Hean has requested that the Hong Leng Huor (HLH) company close a road because offenders were using it to transport timber on trucks and tractors.
The request was made via a letter dated Tuesday. It said on March 26, it received a complaint from people that timber transporters were using the company’s land by paying 50,000 riel each to its security guards.
After getting the complaint, it investigated and found that the timber was taken from Phnom Kravanh district, Pursat province and crossed the company’s roads to Kampong Speu province.
The NGO staffers questioned the timber transporters and they confessed that they paid the company’s security guards so that they allowed them to use the roads, but the company is not involved with the crimes.
Hean confirmed on Wednesday that he sent the letter to the company, seeking cooperation with his NGO and relevant authorities to close the roads so that such crimes would not continue.
However, he said, he has not obtained any response from the company, but an official from the company threatened to sue him at the provincial court by accusing him of causing problems.
Hean also said the security guards stopped him and his car for over one hour from leaving the company when he and his team were investigating the issue on Monday.
“We are sorry about it. And we hope that HLH will work with us and the authorities to close the road, which is the only way to carry out crimes from Phnom Kravanh. The company is not engaged in the crime, but it opened the road,” Hean said.
HLH gateway manager Seng Lay said he obtained the letter from Hean and he thinks the content in the letter is not true because it accused the security guards of accepting the money from illegal timber transporters.
He said the company had a disciplined workforce across its land and the company manager did not allow any guards to accept money from those who travel across it. He said he did not see any timber transports pass by the company.
“We never ask for money from people who crossed company land. I have not seen any tractors transporting timber across the company land either. But if it happened, the company would work with the NGO because we want to stop forest crimes,” he said.