Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM calls on soldiers to end role in Cambodian logging




PM calls on soldiers to end role in Cambodian logging

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Illegal logging found by Prey Lang forest patrol in Kampong Thom province in 2015. Photo supplied

PM calls on soldiers to end role in Cambodian logging

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday called on soldiers to stop colluding with illegal timber traders and work with law enforcement officers to protect natural resources.

Hun Sen made the remarks as he presided over the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the headquarters of the Royal Cambodian Army in the capital’s Por Sen Chey district.

He urged soldiers to take part in forest, fishery and other natural resource preservation efforts.

In the speech, the prime minister referred back to a previous speech he gave when he inaugurated a military base in Preah Vihear province, where he told the soldiers: “I did not send you here to participate in logging.”

’Soldiers should not become loggers’

He added that “soldiers should not become loggers or protectors of illegal timber traders”, warning that those who violated the order by colluding with loggers will be punished.

“Soldiers must not tolerate any individuals who damage the honour and dignity of the army . . . The military should not make people unhappy, but instead help them when they are experiencing difficulties,” he said.

In response to the prime

minister’s remarks, a Mondulkiri-based forest activist Kreung Tola said he was doubtful that illegal logging would be completely stamped out.

He suggested that the government help people find and create markets for people to sell the Kingdom’s agricultural products legitimately so they don’t turn to logging to earn money, citing Vietnam and Thailand as examples of the success of this.

“If, for instance, I have coffee but I do not have the market to sell it, I may turn to illegal trading,” Tola said.

Officials logging

He also claimed that soldiers, police and forestry administration officials often engage in forestry crimes along the border.

“Nobody else has committed [the crimes] besides soldiers, police and forestry administration officials. Most people do not dare to do it,” he said, noting that he had personally witnessed members of these forces committing forest crimes.

Mao Samuon, a border affairs military unit official in Preah Vihear province, said he has taken an active role in preserving natural resources in the area around Preah Vihear temple.

“What the prime minister said is right. We must work together to safeguard our natural resources,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • All inbound flights set to face added scrutiny

    Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said on Monday that the ministry is monitoring all inbound flights, after it was announced that only those from Malaysia and Indonesia will be temporarily cancelled from August 1. Vandine said on Monday that the two countries were identified as

  • Flights from Indonesia, Malaysia cancelled

    A Ministry of Health official has warned of the possibility of Covid-19 spreading through community transmission after the total infected cases in the Kingdom rose to 225. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told reporters on Saturday that the possibility of community transmission cannot be overlooked and that

  • Man in quarantine dies of ‘overdose’

    The Ministry of Health on Thursday said a Cambodian migrant worker who died while being isolated at a quarantine centre in Tbong Khmum province’s Kroch Chhmar district may have died from syncope or overdose of tablets. In a statement, the ministry said the 21-year-old

  • Ministry set to reopen 20 schools in August

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport will allow 20 high-safety-standards schools to reopen next month despite new cases of Covid-19 in the country. Ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha wrote in a Telegram message on Wednesday that the schools are in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang.