Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - In Preah Vihear, raid angers local vendors

In Preah Vihear, raid angers local vendors

In Preah Vihear, raid angers local vendors

More than 200 villagers in Preah Vihear province have submitted a petition requesting help from their representative in the National Assembly after local forestry administration officials raided a dozen of their handicraft and furniture shops, seizing raw timber and finished products.

Beginning October 28 and lasting through the end of the month, the officials confiscated more than 100 cubic metres of timber and furniture. On the first of this month, owners were joined by workers and villagers in a protest against the action in Preah Vihear town, and on Monday, they submitted a petition to ruling Cambodian People’s Party lawmaker Suos Yara.

“Some places are legal with some documents, and some are not,” said Pek Sophon, chief of advocacy for local NGO Ponlok Khmer.

Between 30 and 40 places bought timber and made furniture, but officials only cracked down on 12, Sophon said, adding that the rest of the shops hid their wares soon afterwards.

One protester, a 50-year-old man who gave only one name, Kuy, said his furniture shop was raided and authorities took the timber he was planning on using to build a home.

“The provincial forestry officers entered my shop without a court order. They threatened to arrest us if we banned them from entering and confiscating our items,” he said.

“We want to get our timber and furniture back. I bought it legally, not illegally.”

Ith Phomara, provincial Forestry Administration director, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

But Yara, the CPP lawmaker, said he met with provincial authorities and protesters in Preah Vihear town yesterday to try and solve the problem.

“We coordinated the case and explained to the villagers about the laws [on selling timber], [and] not to be angry with the officers who implement the law,” he said, adding that the villagers agreed to stop protesting and are coming up with documents to prove their wares are from legitimate sources.

“If their documents show that their timber is legal, the forestry officers will return the timber and furniture to them,” Yara said.

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,