Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Timber and fishing busts up slightly in 2017: Ministry of Agriculture

Timber and fishing busts up slightly in 2017: Ministry of Agriculture

Prime Minister Hun Sen reads the annual Ministry of Agriculture report during its launch on Wednesday afternoon. Facebook
Prime Minister Hun Sen reads the annual Ministry of Agriculture report during its launch on Wednesday afternoon. Facebook

Timber and fishing busts up slightly in 2017: Ministry of Agriculture

Last year saw a slight increase in the number of crackdowns for forestry and fishery crimes, according to a new report by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, though an observer maintained that actions was only being taken against small-time criminals.

In 2017, the ministry cracked down on 5,353 cases, compared to 5,140 in 2016. The report, released on Wednesday in a meeting presided over by Prime Minister Hun Sen, indicates that the majority were fishery crimes, with 3,925 cases, while there were 1,428 cases of forest, wildlife and land clearing crimes.

Of the fishery crimes, 3,723 fishing nets and other items were destroyed, while fines were issued in only 116 cases, with just 86 sent to court.

A higher proportion of forest crimes resulted in a fine (658 cases) and were sent to court (778 cases).

Agriculture Minister Ven Sakhon announced that relevant authorities were “actively” cracking down to combat “anarchic” logging and timber export, but did acknowledge that much could be improved.

“The collaboration between relevant authority officials is not smooth yet in stopping and cracking down on fishery, timber and forestland clearing crimes,” he said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen, meanwhile, advised the Ministry to demarcate wetland areas as soon as possible to reduce land grabs and forest loss.

“The Ministry must use all officials to investigate and crack down on fishery crimes and clearing and grabbing of wetland areas for private ownership in all ways,” he said.

Pen Bonnar, a senior land and natural resources investigator at the rights group Adhoc, said the number of cases reflected the fact that crimes are still rampant.

He said measures were typically only taken against small crimes – such as in cases where motorbikes or makeshift trucks were transporting wood – while crimes involving powerful players or officials were rarely punished.

“When they don't crack down on bigger cases, it gives a bad example and shows that the perpetrators are not afraid of the law, triggering some local officials to commit the crimes too,” he said.

Since 2015, Bonnar and local communities have filed 11 lawsuits against tycoons and local authorities for their involvement in logging and land grabbing. None of these have resulted in sentences yet.

During 2017, 34 companies and eight individuals were licensed to transport timber, ultimately being documented carrying 8,000 cubic metres of first-grade timber, 45,128 cubic metres of lower-grade timber and 2,648 cubic metres of sawn wood.

MOST VIEWED

  • Website advises travellers to stay clear of Angkor Wat

    An Australian website has advised travellers to avoid Angkor Wat during their trip to Southeast Asia because the ancient temple is showing signs of rapid erosion and faced water management issues. In a recent article entitled Best places to go in 2020: 12 destinations you should avoid

  • First deportees of the year touch down in Cambodia

    Twenty-five Cambodian-Americans landed in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, marking the first such deportations of the year. “On Wednesday, US law enforcement authorities deported 25 Cambodian nationals that immigration judges determined had no legal basis to remain in the US,” said Arend Zwartjes, spokesperson for the US

  • Passenger taxi boat ridership sinks despite free services

    Passenger taxi boat traffic has dropped by about five per cent compared to the same period last year, despite the government providing free service for garment workers until next year, Phnom Penh Autonomous Bus Transportation Authority director Ean Sokhim said on Monday. In 2018, the Phnom

  • Kingdom drafting new law to strengthen immigration

    The Ministry of Interior on Tuesday said it had formed a working group to draft amendments to the Law on Immigration. Its secretary of state Sok Phal told The Post that the amendments will strengthen the management of immigrants in line with the current situation.

  • Shipments of mango to South Korea poised to begin this week

    Exports of Cambodian mangoes to South Korea will begin this week after Korean authorities gave the nod. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ Department of Plant Protection, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Requirements director Ker Monthivuth told The Post on Sunday that after several inspections of

  • Qatar Airways to connect Doha and Siem Reap town

    Qatar Airways Company QCSC has announced a new route connecting Qatar’s capital Doha with Siem Reap, a move hailed by local officials as a significant step to boost tourist numbers. A Qatar Airways representative, speaking at the Kuwait Aviation Show, announced on Thursday that