Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Timber firms face action

Timber firms face action

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Six timber trucks were seized and burnt down in Stung Treng province. Photo supplied

Timber firms face action

The government has said it will revoke the business licences and immediately halt the operations of five companies in Mondulkiri province’s Koh Nhek district if they are found to be involved in forestry crimes.

The warning came as authorities probe the companies’ alleged involvement in logging in the province and was made during a press conference at the Council of Ministers on Thursday.

Held under the theme Action Plans to Prevent Forestry Crimes and organised by the Royal Government Spokespersons Unit, the conference was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Environment, Forestry Administration and the National Committee for the Prevention and Crackdown on Natural Resource Crimes.

Eng Hy, the committee’s spokesman, told The Post on Thursday that the five companies were still under investigation, and anyone found to be involved in forestry crimes would be arrested.

He identified the five companies as Master K Sun – which is owned by disgraced tycoon Soeng Sam Ol – Yan Chav, Thach Wood (Cambodia), Vichery and Neng Na.

Another firm, Lim Royal, has been cleared of any wrongdoing.

Sam Ol, who held the honorific Oknha, and three accomplices have been placed in pre-trial detention after being charged with large-scale illegal logging by the Mondulkiri provincial court.

“If any of the companies are found to be involved in criminal activity, we will revoke their licences. Further investigation is required before they can be shut down. Justice cannot be served until our investigation is complete,” Hy said.

Hy said authorities are currently probing nine people suspected of illegally trafficking around 1,700 cubic metres of luxury wood in the province.

He said 43 vehicles used for transporting timber had been impounded during the recent crackdown, while another 29 had been destroyed.

Srun Darith, secretary of state at the Ministry of Environment, echoed Hy’s remarks that a thorough investigation was needed before the companies’ licences could be revoked as the firms had received economic land concessions (ELCs) from the government.

“We need to look at their [land concession] contracts with the government. If the firms are found to have violated their contracts, we will refer the case to the government for further action,” he said.

Kroeung Tola, a Mondulkiri-based forest activist, said logging and wood hauling activities allegedly involving the companies had largely stopped since the recent high-profile crackdowns.

“Some timber companies logged trees both inside and outside their economic land concessions, while others that had also received ELCs from the government simply leased their land to other firms for logging purposes."

“After the land is cleared, they leave it vacant and move on to log trees outside their boundaries,” he said.

Separately in Stung Treng province’s Sesan district, Military Police in collaboration with relevant authorities and the deputy court prosecutor intercepted six trucks used for hauling timber at five different locations.

“During the clampdown, provincial Military Police seized the trucks and destroyed them. Two piles of first- and second-grade timber were also confiscated and handed over to the Forestry Administration for further action,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • LPG gas explosion injures 13 people, including foreigners, in Siem Reap

    An explosion on Wednesday at a liquid petroleum gas (LPG) car and tuk-tuk refuelling station in Siem Reap city has left 13 people, including an American and a Briton, suffering burns. The seven most severely burned, including a provincial police officer, were sent to a Thai

  • Over 100 Chinese nationals to be deported for online scam

    The Ministry of Interior is planning to deport 128 Chinese nationals after they were arrested in Preah Sihanouk province on Wednesday for their alleged involvement in an online money extortion scam. Y Sokhy, the head of the Department of Counter-terrorism and Transnational Crime, told The Post

  • More than 800 people test positive for HIV in 2018

    The National Aids Authority (NAA) said more than 800 people tested positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) last year, joining over 76,000 others aged between 15 and 49 in the Kingdom already infected with the virus. The spread of HIV/AIDS in the Kingdom is showing few signs of

  • Rainsy vow to return on Nov 9 dismissed as ‘political warfare’

    An announcement from the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) that its “acting president” Sam Rainsy would return to the Kingdom on November 9 was dismissed on Sunday as “political warfare”. The CNRP made the announcement on Friday after a permanent committee meeting chaired by