Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Villagers, Forestry Administration square off in Mondulkiri

Villagers, Forestry Administration square off in Mondulkiri

People protest at a Forestry Administration nursery in Mondulkiri last week after a teenager was pursued for transporting illegal timber. Adhoc
People protest at a Forestry Administration nursery in Mondulkiri last week after a teenager was pursued for transporting illegal timber. Adhoc

Villagers, Forestry Administration square off in Mondulkiri

Some 100 villagers from Mondulkiri’s Keo Seima district protested outside a Forestry Administration nursery on Saturday calling for two rangers who chased an underage illegal timber hauler to be fired.

Mech Rithy, father of Huot Chanthoeun, 15, said his son agreed to haul two illegally felled logs to a Vietnamese buyer for $15 so he could purchase a school uniform and study materials.

Rithy estimated that 90 per cent of people in the area transported illegal wood via motorbike and paid the FA officials up to $5 for each trip.

Chanthoeun didn’t pay the bribe “because the logs were small”, and when he passed the nursery station, the two officers chased him into a cassava plantation.

The boy then left his motorbike and fled into the forest.

When Chanthoeun’s angry neighbours went to collect the abandoned bike, one of the officers took out a gun to scare the villagers, then the two drove away in a Lexus.

The villagers have asked their chief to take legal action. “They mistreat only normal villagers, but do not intercept any prominent traders. It is not fair,” Rithy said.

Sok Rotha, Mondulkiri provincial coordinator for Adhoc, said more than 20 villagers filed a thumbprinted complaint asking the rights NGO to intervene.

He said the villagers wanted the FA to be more consistent in their application of the law and also stop seizing their motorbikes and demanding up to $300 for their return.

Keo Seima Forestry Administration director Chuy Sokheang, the boss of the two officers, denied the allegations. “[The villagers] are furious because we intercepted them,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen’s China visit ‘a good opportunity’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen’s visit to Beijing on Sunday to discuss economic and trade issues presents a good opportunity for the Kingdom to strengthen Chinese ties and counter punitive measures by the West, an analyst says. The prime minister’s four-day official visit to

  • Close to the edge: Hair raising pictures from Kulen Mountain

    A new hair raising attraction on Kulen Mountain has finally opened to the public, with people flocking to the protruding cliff edge overlooking green mountainous forests to take photographs. The giant overhanging rock is situated in an area known as Mahendraparvata – an ancient city of

  • ‘Action needed to stop road deaths doubling by next year’

    Minister of Interior Sar Kheng has expressed concern over the rate of traffic accidents, saying the death toll will double by 2020 if no effective preventive measures were put in place. At least five people on average are killed on Cambodian roads every day. The interior

  • Cambodian rice to lose EU duty-free status

    The Cambodian rice sector is set to lose its duty-free export status to the EU today – its major rice market – after the European bloc decided to impose tariffs on rice from Cambodia and Myanmar to curb a surge in such imports. The decision will be