National Military Police commander Sao Sokha ordered the destruction on Monday of 10 makeshift vehicles that were used in forestry crimes in Battambang province.
Sokha, who is also chairman of the National Committee for Prevention and Crackdown on Forestry Crimes, ordered officers to destroy them with explosives to deter loggers.
National committee spokesman Eng Hy said Battambang provincial Military Police found the 10 vehicles while patrolling the forest in different locations. He said the committee had not set a date for the destruction while the authorities were conducting inspections in other areas.
“We are working on it. After an inspection in all locations, General Sao Sokha will order the officers to burn or break them into pieces to prevent perpetrators from using such vehicles to destroy forests in future,” he said.
Battambang provincial Military Police commander Meas Sovann said his officers found the 10 trucks on Monday in Samlot district, which borders Pursat province.
“We will continue our patrols. Meanwhile, the provincial governor will establish a commission to prepare the vehicles for destruction and will burn them once we receive an order from higher-ups.
“The locations where we found the trucks were close to each other. There was no timber in the vehicles, while the perpetrators escaped,” he said.
The national committee has also ordered the Koh Kong and Pursat provincial Military Police to step up their patrols at the Mom III area, where the three provinces share a border.
Yin Mengly, the Battambang provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said on Monday that the makeshift trucks were high-performance vehicles that could easily haul and transport timber.
Mengly said while he supported the destruction of vehicles used solely for illegal logging, he urged the authorities to spare those that could serve the public interest.
“Some of the trucks could not be used to transport anything else besides timber. They were powerful enough to transport timber from the forest to sawmills.
“I welcome the destruction of such vehicles, but I don’t support the burning of useful cars.”