Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Officials in on illegal timber to VN, claim forest guardians

Officials in on illegal timber to VN, claim forest guardians

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The Sesan River has long been used to transport illegal logs. The image above, of illegally harvest timber in the area, prompted an investigation that was reported in 2017. Photo supplied

Officials in on illegal timber to VN, claim forest guardians

Forest activists in Ratanakkiri province’s O’yadav district said on Thursday that a group of Cambodian and Vietnamese traders are colluding with officials and transporting timber from their community forest to Vietnam after they had illegally felled trees there early this month.

Community members in Phi and Padorl villages allege that Cambodian trader Houv Chivay had instructed two of his representatives, Pech and Sinoeun, to lobby community forest chief Romchong Phnhorl and local authorities to turn a blind eye with a promise of a $30,000 bribe.

Sev Doeun, a community representative in Phi village, said the traders brought trucks to log and transport timber from Padorl community forest to Vietnam by crossing Phi and Potaing villages in Sesan commune.

“Our Phi community tries to protect the forest, but Padorl village community members are colluding with traders to mask the illegal activities,” he said, adding that authorities have taken no action and that the traders kept transporting timber to Vietnam by boats.

‘Local authorities are aware’

Leang, another community member who only gave his first name, said after the community reported the crime to the district authority and forestry administration, some traders paused their illicit activities while others hid in the forest, waiting for a good opportunity to ship timber to Vietnam, mostly at night.

“Local authorities are aware of the crime, but they do not crack down on the matter and do not report it to the district or provincial authorities either,” Leang claimed.

Sesan commune chief Sev Sven could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

O’yadav district governor Mar Vichet said the authority is aware of the crime and his task force had launched a probe after getting information from the community a few days earlier.

“Police are patrolling the forest. Over the past few days, we have not seen any trucks or suspects,” Vichet said.

O’yadav district military police commander Sok Min said the task force found a pile of timber on Wednesday in Potaing village between the community forest and a company’s land.

“Until now we do not know whether the timber belonged to a company known as 7 Makara or the suspects. We are looking further into the case,” Min said.

The taskforce is currently patrolling the forest and Sesan River undercover to monitor forestry crimes after the community told them the suspects were hiding in the forest or on the company’s land, he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Archaeologists find ancient remnant

    A team from the Apsara National Authority (ANA) has discovered a gatekeeper statue’s foot fragment at the Tonle Snguot Temple, within a metre of the toe of a statue found in 2017. ANA spokesman Long Kosal told The Post on Wednesday that the fragment was

  • Hun Sen to the rescue

    Cambodia has won praise for allowing passengers of the MS Westerdam cruise ship to dock at Preah Sihanouk port, thanks to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s humanitarian act. In a message via Twitter on Wednesday, the director-general of the World Health Organisation Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu

  • EU partially withdraws EBA

    The EU Commission on Wednesday announced the partial withdrawal of the Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme, citing a serious and systematic violation by Cambodia of principles in the four core human and labour rights. The suspension affects one-fifth or €1 billion ($1.08 billion) of Cambodia’s annual

  • PM orders immediate action against ‘sexy’ live streamers

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday ordered immediate action against women who live stream their sales pitches on Facebook wearing revealing clothing. The prime minister said the practice erodes traditional Cambodian values and disgraces women. Hun Sen gave the order to officials attending the Cambodian

  • Trump tweets praise for Kingdom docking ship

    Cambodia continues to earn praise for its humanitarian act of allowing the MS Westerdam cruise ship with more than 2,200 passengers and crew on board to dock at the Preah Sihanouk port. The praise this time comes from none other than US President Donald Trump. “Thank

  • Japan calls for policy changes

    Representatives of Japanese companies and investors on Wednesday submitted a list of policy recommendations to the government concerning 21 challenges to the Kingdom’s business climate. Japanese Ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami and leaders of the Japanese Business Association in Cambodia (JBAC), Japan International Cooperation Agency