Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ten million riel reward for forest arsonists




Ten million riel reward for forest arsonists

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
More than 20ha of kranhuong timber forest were secretly set on fire on Tuesday. Supplied

Ten million riel reward for forest arsonists

The Siem Reap provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said it will offer a 10 million riel ($2,500) reward to those who provide information regarding the suspects responsible for setting ablaze more than 20ha of kranhuong timber forest land in Banteay Srei district.

Department director Tea Kimsoth told The Post on Thursday that more than 20ha of kranhuong timber forest were secretly set on fire on Tuesday evening to lay illegal ownership of the land.

“Our specialist, as well as local authorities and residents in the communities, had been working to protect this forest since 2012. But offenders had burned the land in a blink of an eye.

“I will reward 10 million riel to anyone who can point us to the suspects,” he said.

Banteay Srei district deputy police chief Ros Sisovanna told The Post on Thursday that last year, more than 200ha of the kranhuong forests were completely cleared through burning. However, the culprits responsible had not yet been identified.

“In the case of this forest fire, we suspect that villagers who have houses and agricultural land near the area burned it secretly so that they could encroach on it.

“They must have wanted to expand their agricultural land, but we still have no evidence to present against them,” he said.

Seng Lorn, the chief of the Forestry Administration in the commune who led the operation to extinguish the fire on Tuesday, told The Post that authorities could not immediately gain access to the land due to the lack of roads in the area.

“We spent more than three hours to put out the flames. Because of the hot weather and the shortage in water supply, we don’t expect the burned kranhuong trees to recover until the rainy season,” he said.

Provincial Forestry Administration chief Mong Bunlim said the kranhuong timber forest area in the district covered 2,800ha, adding that the unprecedented fire was caused by people.

“Article 97 of the Forestry Law says that any person guilty of starting forest fires on purpose and without authorisation will face five to 10 years imprisonment,” he said.

Bunlim said the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries would gather residents and relevant departments at the beginning of the rainy season to replant kranhuong trees, which, in turn, would restore the forest.

MOST VIEWED

  • School reopening to be postponed until November

    Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Hun Sen requesting a delay of school reopening across the Kingdom until November, when the new academic year begins. In his letter, Chuon Naron said the postponement is warranted to avoid the new

  • Foreigners in Kingdom must now register in FPCS system

    The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Immigration (GDI) announced that it would not grant visa extensions to foreigners staying in Cambodia if their names are not listed on the Foreigners Present in Cambodia System (FPCS) by July 1. Foreign nationals can register in the

  • Covid-19 at ‘alarming rate’, health ministry says

    The Covid-19 risk level for individual transmission is at an “alarming rate” in the Kingdom and its probability is “not low”, warned Health Ministry spokesperson Or Vandine. “Cambodia’s coronavirus scenario is classified as being at an early stage of the pandemic because of ongoing

  • Mandatory quarantine for 30,000 workers begins

    Some of the roughly 30,000 workers from factories and enterprises across the Kingdom who went on leave during Khmer New Year began their government-imposed 14-day quarantine on Monday. Speaking at a press conference while visiting workers at the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone on Monday, Ministry

  • Unemployed to get $40 per month

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has instructed enterprises, business owners and travel agencies in five provinces to prepare the proper forms for the suspension of employment contracts. This, it said, will make it easier for the ministry to transfer $40 a month to workers

  • Gov’t travel ban flouted

    While the majority of Cambodians have paid heed to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s order to stay put and not travel during the Khmer New Year – the holidays of which were also postponed – several hundred have left Phnom Penh nonetheless. They have allegedly breached provincial

  • G20 energy ministers struggle to finalise oil output cuts

    Top oil producers struggled to finalise production cuts during a virtual summit held by Group of 20 (G20) energy ministers on Friday, despite US President Donald Trump’s mediation efforts to end a standoff with Mexico. The final G20 communique appeared to gloss over simmering divisions

  • Kingdom revises travel restriction order

    The government on Friday eased the district and provincial border restrictions issued on Thursday. People are now allowed to cross districts within their provinces. Phnom Penh and Kandal province are to be treated as a single region where people are allowed to travel freely. In

  • Private schools struggling

    The Cambodian Higher Education Association has claimed that 113 private educational establishments are facing bankruptcy because of their inability to pay rent and staff salaries in light of nationwide school closures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. It said the financial trouble started when the Ministry of

  • Khmer New Year holidays postponed

    In an effort to halt Covid-19 infections in the Kingdom, Prime Minister Hun Sen has postponed the Khmer New Year holidays scheduled from April 13 to 16. While the people will not have their usual break, nor will there be any public celebrations or gatherings at pagodas,