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.


  • Hun Sen: Stop Russia sanctions

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said sanctions against Russia as a result of its military offensive in Ukraine should be stopped as they have produced no tangible results, and predicted that a global food crisis would ensue in 2023 as a consequence. Speaking to an audience at

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Siem Reap’s Angkor Botanical Garden opens

    The Angkor Botanical Garden was officially opened on May 19 with free entry for both local and international visitors for the first six weeks. The garden was established on a nearly 15ha plot of land in Siem Reap. “After the first six weeks, Angkor Botanical Garden

  • Pub Street on the cards for Battambang

    The Battambang Provincial Authority has announced that it is considering establishing a Pub Street in the area around the heritage buildings in Battambang town in a bid to attract more tourists. Battambang provincial governor Sok Lou told The Post that the establishment of a Pub

  • Hun Sen: Don’t react to hostility

    Prime Minister Hun Sen urged tolerance and thanked members of the Cambodian diaspora for not reacting to the hostility on display towards him by others while he was in the US to attend the May 12-13 ASEAN-US Special Summit in Washington, DC. In an audio