Six people were arrested, nearly 20 vehicles destroyed and over 2,000 first-grade timber logs were impounded in a span of four days last week.
This was the result of a series of crackdowns on forestry crimes carried out by the National Committee for Prevention and Crackdown on Natural Resources Crimes, a Facebook post on the GRK News page revealed on Sunday.
GRK News, which is affiliated to the National Police, said the clampdowns were launched between Wednesday and yesterday. A tractor which was among the seized evidence was also set on fire.
In Pursat province alone, the post said, military police forces burnt nine lorries at various locations on Friday and Saturday.
It said the seized logs had been transferred to the local Fisheries Administration office as a prelude to “undertaking further legal procedures”.
In a related development, Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Deputy Commander-in-chief Sao Sokha said crackdowns on forest crimes on
Friday had been “significantly successful” and that prevention measures had been taken “despite resource deficiencies”.
Sokha, who is also the chairman of the committee, said security forces continuously collected reliable information to look for the masterminds with strong financial resources who were involved in forestry crimes and to bring them to justice.
“Our crackdowns [on forestry crimes] would be effective as long as we strive to seek the wealthy individuals who are responsible for clearing the forest.
“We must continue inspecting investment companies across the country to determine whether or not they adhere to the regulations and standards set by the government,” he stressed during a meeting to review a certain compliance matter on Friday.
Sokha also called for systematic task distribution and clear mechanisms.
“The national and provincial authorities ought to work together. If the latter needs help, the former would be able to provide assistance,” he said.
Regarding the confiscation of evidence, Sokha said quality vehicles should not be destroyed but instead seized as government property.
Kroeung Tola, a forest protection community representative in Mondulkiri province, lauded the recent crackdowns and urged the authorities to detain more offenders of forest crimes.
He also lamented repeated offences committed by the same perpetrators and claimed that the government’s previous campaigns to stamp out forestry crimes had tended to be ineffective.