Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM to deploy helicopters to monitor illegal logging



PM to deploy helicopters to monitor illegal logging

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A Prey Lang forest community activist inspects a section of the forest after it was cleared in 2014. Heng Chivoan

PM to deploy helicopters to monitor illegal logging

Speaking before members of the Cambodian diaspora in the US on Sunday, Prime Minister Hun Sen said he has ordered helicopters to be deployed above forests in the Kingdom to monitor illegal logging activities.

He also expressed his disgust towards “forest thieves” or illegal loggers and called for their arrest.

Acknowledging that much of the Kingdom’s forests have been cleared to cater to the growing population, Hun Sen said: “It is true that deforestation is happening. The forest has been substituted with paddy fields, farmlands, rubber plantations … this is due to the rising population."

“I’m ordering the deployment of helicopters to take pictures of the situation from above. I hate those thieves [illegal loggers] … millions of hectares have been cleared. It’s a loss of forests.”

‘Prompt manner’

His statement came after the interior minister had criticised the forestry law and blamed officials for having allowed some people to clear forests along the basin of the Lower Sesan II Dam, while environmental activists claim that measures to resolve the issues were slow and ineffective.

In late August, Ministry of Interior Secretary of State Sork Setha, ordered the Mondulkiri and Stung Treng provincial authorities to act against forestry crimes in a more effective and prompt manner.

This move was triggered after a UK-based Environmental Investigation Agency released a report dated May 31, unveiling the discovery of large-scale illegal logging activities in three different sites – Voray Chey National Park, Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary and the northern part of the Lower Sesan II Dam.

Former Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker Ou Chanroth said the government’s measures are ineffective because some powerful officials are protecting large timber traders.

He said until now, there has been no prosecution of large timber traders, which resulted in the continuance of illegal logging throughout the Kingdom.

“We saw similar moves some years ago. The armed forces, military police and committees were formed and deployed to monitor and take action. We only saw results for a short period of time."

“Since then, there hasn’t been a trial and illegal logging still continues because it is backed by some powerful figures,” he claimed.

MOST VIEWED

  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • Cambodia at ‘most critical moment’, Hun Sen warns

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the first community transmission of Covid-19 in Cambodia has led the country to the “most critical moment” that warranted urgent, large-scale operations to contain the pandemic. Hun Sen, who confirmed the first local transmission on November 28, said the source of

  • PM confirms community transmission, calls for unity

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the public to stay calm, unite and follow the Ministry of Health guidelines after the wife of a senior official tested positive for Covid-19 in the Kingdom’s first case of community transmission. The case has drawn criticism

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there