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Villagers to police logging in Prey Lang

Villagers to police logging in Prey Lang

More than 600 villagers from four provinces and civil society organisation officials would em­bark on the largest community crackdown yet on the “anarchic logging” of Prey Lang forest in Kampong Thom, representatives said yesterday.

Undeterred by authorities’ reprimands of their previous  “jungle justice”, representatives said the crackdown would begin today and continue until the end of the month.

“We are going into the forest because villagers see activities of tremendous illegal logging everyday,” Chhim Savuth, public forum co-ordinator for the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, said.

“The people see the transportation of illegal timbers from jungle that is not the forest the government gave as an economic concession.”

Last month, police condemned the actions of more than 100 villagers and Prey Lang Network representatives who burned 40 cubic metres of luxury timber as part of a stand against illegal logging.

Chhim Savuth said the group would gather evidence to submit at a March 28 public forum with authorities and politicians.

Kampong Thom’s Sandan district governor Sim Vanna said that logging in prohibited areas was mostly committed by villagers.  “Villagers cut good trees to make houses, but forestry ad­ministration allow it because it is not that many,” he said.

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