Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Threats as police, WWF officer probe logging

Threats as police, WWF officer probe logging

Threats as police, WWF officer probe logging

Seven police officers and an NGO staffer in Mondulkiri province escaped a potentially violent confrontation with illegal loggers on Wednesday, while a soldier who was accompanying the group claimed he received death threats from military police connected to the logging operation.

Khleuv Krak, 40, a Royal Cambodian Armed Forces officer from Phnom Penh, was with seven policemen and a staff member of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) who were on a trip to measure the effects of logging on the community forest in Pech Chreada district’s Pou Chrei commune.

At about 8pm, Krak said, the group came across a truck on the road transporting illegally logged timber out of the forest. The group blocked the road with their motorbikes and called the provincial Forestry Administration to intervene.

Before the Forestry Administration could respond, two men – identified only as Pheak and Phal Che, both from Kratie province – arrived at the scene and ordered the group to move.

“They ordered us to take the bikes out of the way, or they will hit them,” Krak said yesterday. “We agreed to move three, but the officer from the WWF refused to move his bike, and they drove the truck and hit it and escaped,” he said.

Chhit Sam Ath, WWF-Cambodia country director, said in an email to the Post that he was still trying to establish the facts in the case.

“WWF staff was working with communities in Pou Chrei commune when the incident happened. WWF team in Mondulkiri province will conduct further investigation on this incident to obtain clear facts about the happening,” he wrote. “We observed illegal logging activities have dramatically increased over the past three months and this is affecting the work with communities that are receiving support from WWF projects,” he added.

Krak also claimed that several military police officers he believed to be associates of the loggers threatened to kill him over the incident.

“They looked for me and threatened to kill me. I was scared to death,” he said.

Krak said he feared the WWF would suspend its operations in Mondulkiri following the incident, but Sam Ath said its work would continue.

“WWF’s personnel are working normally in their office and in the field in Mondulkiri, but WWF is concerned by this incident and will conduct further investigation to assess the situation and security of WWF staff,” he said.

Trang Thoeurn, Pou Chrei commune police chief, said he had sent a report to the provincial police chief, Nhem Vanny.

Vanny denied receiving the report.


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australians protest Asean summit visit by PM Hun Sen

    Hundreds of protesters gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park on Friday to protest against Cambodian strongman Hun Sen, who claimed to have been gifted millions of dollars by the Australian government ahead of a special Asean summit this weekend. An estimated 300 protesters, the majority of

  • One Australian, one Cambodian killed in explosion at military base

    Updated: 5:20pm, Friday 16 March 2018 An Australian tourist and a Cambodian soldier were killed in an explosion on Thursday afternoon at an army base in Cambodia’s Kampong Speu province. The Australian, whom the government initially identified as a technical demining expert in his 40s, and

  • Peeling back layers of prehistory in Battambang

    When the man passed away, he had not yet reached 50. He belonged to a tribe that had settled near the Sangker River in Battambang province, likely cultivating the fields and raising animals. On the side, they hunted for boars, and even turtles, one of which