The Prey Lang Community Network has called on the government to include the protection of the sprawling Prey Lang forest in the remit of the recently established committee to crack down on illegal logging.
Speaking at a press conference in Phnom Penh yesterday, community members said they welcomed the government initiative to crack down on the timber trade, but said the scope should include crimes at the source, not just raids of warehouses on land concessions.
“The timber loggers in Prey Lang forest do not only log the timber, but they also destroy everything,” said Hoeun Sopheap, a community representative from Kampong Thom province, referring to the hunting of wildlife and the polluting of the forest.
Last month, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced the establishment of a joint anti-logging task force that included district police, military police and forestry officials. The committee has since carried out a series of raids, many on economic land concessions, which have thus far resulted in a just a handful of low-level arrests.