Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Villagers in Mondulkir say illegal logging is going on unabated




Villagers in Mondulkir say illegal logging is going on unabated

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Illegally felled timber is seized in Mondulkiri earlier this week. Supplied

Villagers in Mondulkir say illegal logging is going on unabated

Villagers claim that rampant illegal logging is taking place at the Phnom Namlear Wildlife Sanctuary and local authorities are not doing enough to curb the activity.

Every night about 20 to 30 lorries remove luxury timber from the wildlife sanctuary, which is fast depleting its forest reserves.

Even the Banong ethnic community in Pou Long village in Mondulkiri Province, who have the legal right to work in the forest are deprived of their livelihoods.

Kreung Tola, an advocate for forest activists in the Banong community’s Bou Sra commune, said local residents are frustrated with the authorities because, even after numerous complaints, no stern action was taken to stop the illegal operation.

“The offenders continue to smuggle [luxury timbers] from Bou Sra commune. Being an advocate and forest protector, I urge provincial governor Svay Sam Eang to help prevent the crime and improve forest protection because it is almost gone,” he said.

He said those involved in illegal logging were armed and even threatened to harm villagers who tried to stop their smuggling activities, thus preventing locals from taking any sort of action against them.

Mondulkiri Provincial Environment Department director Keo Sopheak said police stopped the illegal activities about a week ago and even confiscated hundreds of logs near a river at the Namlear area.

But, the offenders managed to escape, he said.

“We investigated a Vietnamese company that obtained a land concession (to log) at the Phnom Namlear Wildlife Sanctuary area and found many luxury logs.

“I think the company hired people from nearby areas to fell the trees and hide them in the company’s premises,” he said.

Adhoc provincial coordinator Eang Mengly said the local authorities were not serious in tackling illegal logging but were only after minor offenders.

“Police arrest offenders, such as those who carry timber on their cycles or motorbikes. They detain those who carry small quantities of timber to be used as firewood, but they rarely look into the major cases.
“Therefore, the people in the affected communities have raised concerns over forest clearing,” he said.

According to the villagers, timber is illegally felled and smuggled into Vietnam.

In May, the UK-based Environment Investigation Agency released a report “Serial Offender” – which claimed that about one million cubic metres of illegal timber from protected areas in the Kingdom’s northeast provinces were transported into Vietnam.

MOST VIEWED

  • First Khmer woman to pass out of West Point

    The life of a soldier certainly isn’t for everyone. The training is gruelling, the hours long and there’s no room for excuses. On top of that, soldiers must be ready to respond to sudden threats at a moment’s notice. Just ask Sithyka

  • Tourists urged not to skip trip

    The Ministry of Tourism has called on international tourists not to cancel trips to Cambodia, but urged them to adhere to several dos and don’ts when arriving in the Kingdom during the Covid-19 pandemic. The ministry released an eight-point instruction manual on Wednesday published

  • The taxman cometh – Cambodia’s capital gains tax casts the net on individual taxpayers

    In a country where only limited personal income tax existed, the new taxation law beginning January 1, 2021, will make taxpayers out of Cambodians, whether they are ready for it or not About two years ago, a little known amendment was made to Article 7 of the Law

  • Cambodian-American gets Star Trek treatment

    Kevin Ung, a Cambodian-American whose family escaped genocide during the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror, was recently selected from thousands of applicants to participate in the Television Academy Foundation’s inaugural 2020 Star Trek Command Training Programme, a course intended to give hands-on filmmaking experience

  • Cambodia seeks to be transport hub

    Cambodia is working on several fronts to modernise its transport infrastructure and services, concentrating on opening new international gates to relieve and balance traffic congestion at its borders, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol said on Thursday. This is part of the Kingdom’

  • Deminers unearth ancient lion statue

    Cambodia Mine Action Centre (CMAC) director-general Heng Ratana told The Post on Tuesday that a statue of a lion was found by mine clearance experts while they were digging for a development project. It was sent to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts last