Park rangers from the Siem Reap provincial Department of Environment discovered an array of illegal activities while on patrol last week, including the construction of a small wooden hut in the Phnom Kulen National Park, a suspect cutting down a sralao tree in Phnom Sramoch, and four felled rosewood trees in the Angkor area.
The Ministry of Environment said park rangers patrolling forests in the Phnom Kulen National Park on Saturday questioned a farm guard from Trapaing Russey village, Boeung Mealea commune, Svay Leu district who had been building a small hut.
The man asserted that he is a farm guard and the rangers asked him to sign an agreement to remove the hut within seven days.
Siem Reap provincial Department of Environment director Sun Kong told The Post on Monday: “He is a villager at Boeung Mealea, but he guards the farm and land for others. We will follow up on that case”.
Kong said people are afraid of park rangers lately because there has been action taken against forest crime perpetrators.
“But there is growing support from local authorities, and the people desire to prevent crimes and participate in other actions with the relevant authorities,” he said.
Kong said his officials cooperated with local authorities to stamp out major crimes and that their main task is to stop natural resource crimes, especially in protected areas designated by the ministry.
In another incident on Saturday, the ministry said Boeung Per Wildlife Sanctuary park rangers and Phnom Balaing community members found a suspect cutting down a sralao tree in the Phnom Sramoch area located at Khvao village, Khvao commune, Chi Kraeng district.
The suspect ran away when he saw the rangers, leaving behind a large chainsaw, 13 pieces of sralao lumber and a tractor. The confiscated materials are being kept at the district office as evidence.
In a separate incident, an Apsara National Authority (ANA) official patrolling a forest in the Angkor area on April 16 found four cut rosewood trees.
Kong said: “We didn’t find out about the crime until we did our daily patrols because the trees were felled during the night when we don’t have any forces on patrols.”
ANA spokesman Long Kosal told The Post on Monday that his team is still looking for the suspect.