Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Village leader confesses to illegal logging allowances in Siem Reap



Village leader confesses to illegal logging allowances in Siem Reap

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The village chief and 10 villagers were involved in the crime in Skun village, Tbeng commune. Photo supplied

Village leader confesses to illegal logging allowances in Siem Reap

Banteay Srei district governor Khim Finan has issued fines of 12 million riel ($3,000) to 10 villages and a formal warning to a village chief for illegal logging in Skun village, Tbeng commune, Banteay Srei district, Siem Reap province.

The move was taken after Finan visited the flooded forest and it became apparent the village chief and 10 villagers were involved in the crime.

Finan told The Post on Monday that he had also required the Skun village chief, Khy Sokhonn, to write a letter of confession over failing to report the 6ha flooded forest land clearing in the local area he was in control of.

He said the 10 others who plundered the flooded land were required to sign the agreement to cease logging and return the land to the state.

The 10 now have to pay the 12 million riel deforestation charge as stated by the forest administration law by February 22. The money will then be returned to the community in Skun village in a bid to restore the flooded forest.

“The first culprit was the official in Skun village who did not report it, despite the logging activities taking place over a week in the area under his control.

“It wasn’t until the villagers lost trust in him, that they decided to report it directly to me. I have asked the village chief to issue a letter of acknowledgement for his mistake and for failing to do his job properly.

“The letter will form the basis for the commune council to review his role according to the law and be kept on record if there are any further mistakes in the future.

“For all subsequent offences in this district from today onwards, the district administration will pursue strict legal action regardless of the people or officials involved in a crime,” Finan said.

On February 12, Sokhonn wrote a letter to Finan, in which he pleaded guilty in failing to report an offence. He admitted that earlier in February, he allowed Kham Hoeun and his associates to enter flooded forests illegally, occupy the land, and infringe on the natural forest, a vital resource in the district.

“I fully admit that I have neglected to monitor this incident and from this day on, I promise to report offences, obey the law, and serve the people with the utmost responsibility,” Sokhonn wrote.

Sokhonn could not be reached for further comment.

The provincial Adhoc human rights coordinator, Chan Chamroeun, expressed support for the move by the authorities. However, he urged the implementation of the law to be transparent and fair.

He said in Siem Reap as a whole, there were many land grab cases and most of those involved were high-ranking officials and the wealthy.

“In Siem Reap, it is not only the village chief in question, but it is also other powerful people who encroach on state land,” he said.

“The penalty on the people should be proportional. If the case is small, the perpetrator should be warned or made to sign contracts to cease their activities. Issuing fines to poor people will not resolve the issue and just push them further into poverty,” Chamroeun said.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • Hun Sen: Lakes filled in for national developments

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced continued operations to fill some lakes in Phnom Penh to create land for developments, though he is against the unrelated practice of damming rivers or blocking waterways. Speaking at the inauguration of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport

  • Koh Preus upgrades 70% complete

    Initial construction of a nearly $30 million tourism infrastructure project on Preah Sihanouk province’s Koh Preus Island is “about 70 per cent complete”, according to an official with the developer. Heng Thou, construction site manager of Angela Real Estate Co Ltd (ARE), told The Post that

  • Local media loses a giant, and The Post a great friend

    Cheang Sokha, a gifted and streetwise reporter who rose to the highest ranks of Cambodian media and was beloved for his sharp intelligence, world-class humour and endless generosity, died on Friday in his hometown of Phnom Penh. He was 42. His wife, Sok Sophorn, said he