Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Phnom Oral sanctuary raid yields big haul

Phnom Oral sanctuary raid yields big haul

Authorities inspect a stockpile of illegal timber on Saturday after it was logged from inside Kampong Speu’s Phnom Oral Wildlife Sanctuary. National police
Authorities inspect a stockpile of illegal timber on Saturday after it was logged from inside Kampong Speu’s Phnom Oral Wildlife Sanctuary. National police

Phnom Oral sanctuary raid yields big haul

The Ministry of Environment seized 145 logged trees from Phnom Oral Wildlife Sanctuary in Kampong Speu on Saturday after receiving a tip from an NGO which, claiming inaction on the part of local authorities, had petitioned the ministry’s leadership directly.

Minister Say Sam Al personally ordered the raid, which found no signs of the perpetrators. Sao Sopheap, ministry spokesman, said they do not have enough rangers to patrol the large wildlife sanctuary and welcomed any future tips from NGOs.

“The timber was logged inside the royal decree-protected forest of Oral Wildlife Sanctuary and the loggers hid it under a tent,” said Chea Hean, director of the Natural Resource and Wildlife Preservation Organisation.

“I called Minister Say Sam Al directly for intervention because environmental officers in the province had not taken action.”

Keat Rangsey, head of the provincial environmental department, yesterday denied these allegations and insisted that his staff is working to crack down on forest crime in the sanctuary.

“We saw the timber, and our officers were deployed to take care of it. Now we are looking for a vehicle to take it to our station office,” Rangsey said.

Minister Say Sam Al yesterday confirmed personally giving the order but declined to discuss details.

Last week, multiple forestry watchdogs expressed doubt that the government’s logging crackdown in the east of Cambodia had produced significant, sustainable results, saying that logging and smuggling of timber to Vietnam was continuing despite claims to the contrary.

In a separate weekend incident, 12 people were arrested by Mondulkiri forestry officials on Saturday, after they were caught logging timber in the Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary.

According to Chhit Sophal, chief of the provincial department of environment, the suspects are being kept at his station, pending legal action.

“We are working with the court on the case. We are not sure how we will deal with them, but now they are with us,” he said.

The raid saw forestry officials confiscate almost 30 logs of luxury timber, six mini-tractors, four chainsaws and other logging equipment.

The suspects hail from Sre Ches commune in Kratie’s Sambor district, which is located near the sanctuary.

MOST VIEWED

  • Website advises travellers to stay clear of Angkor Wat

    An Australian website has advised travellers to avoid Angkor Wat during their trip to Southeast Asia because the ancient temple is showing signs of rapid erosion and faced water management issues. In a recent article entitled Best places to go in 2020: 12 destinations you should avoid

  • Chinese firms to build new PP airport

    Three enterprises, all Chinese-owned, have been chosen to build the new airport that will service the Cambodian capital, the company in charge of the project said. Cambodia Airport Investment Co Ltd said a total of five companies had entered the bidding process. Yee Con Long,

  • Shipments of mango to South Korea poised to begin this week

    Exports of Cambodian mangoes to South Korea will begin this week after Korean authorities gave the nod. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ Department of Plant Protection, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Requirements director Ker Monthivuth told The Post on Sunday that after several inspections of

  • Passenger taxi boat ridership sinks despite free services

    Passenger taxi boat traffic has dropped by about five per cent compared to the same period last year, despite the government providing free service for garment workers until next year, Phnom Penh Autonomous Bus Transportation Authority director Ean Sokhim said on Monday. In 2018, the Phnom

  • Kingdom drafting new law to strengthen immigration

    The Ministry of Interior on Tuesday said it had formed a working group to draft amendments to the Law on Immigration. Its secretary of state Sok Phal told The Post that the amendments will strengthen the management of immigrants in line with the current situation.

  • Jica seeks to turn PP, towns into smart cities

    Japanese International Cooperation Agency (Jica) representatives have sought support from Siem Reap’s Apsara National Authority (ANA) to transform the ancient capital into a smart city. The call was made in February last year after the government approved three cities to join the Asean Smart