Out of the woods: Forest crime often goes unpunished

Out of the woods: Forest crime often goes unpunished

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries saw at least 2,400 cases of forest- and wildlife-related crimes in 2014, of which almost 1,800 were forwarded to the courts, though fewer than 10 people were sentenced in relation to the crimes, ministry figures say.

Only seven people were either educated on forest crimes or made to face legal action, a low figure that ministry administration official Thorn Sarath attributed to the relatively minor nature of most of the crimes and the difficulty in identifying perpetrators.

Many cases, he added, don’t result in arrests because suspects flee and “people do not help the authorities catch the perpetrators”.

However, Ouch Leng, director of the Human Rights Task Force, attributed the low numbers to police collusion in forestry crimes committed by the powerful who, he said, “are not seen, and they are assisted”.

Authorities seized over 1,700 cubic metres of processed timber, about 5,600 cubic metres of unprocessed logs, just under 120 cubic metres and about 12,000 kilograms of rosewood, the report says.

Revenue derived from taxes and the sale of seized timber totalled over $17.5 million.

MOST VIEWED

  • Proof giants walked among us humans?

    For years a debate has waged about whether certain bas relief carvings at the 12th-century To Prohm Temple, one of the most popular attractions at the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Siem Reap province, depicted dinosaurs or some rather less exotic and more contemporary animal,

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • Japan bank buys major stake in ANZ Royal Bank

    Japan's largest bank acquired more than half of ANZ’s shares in Cambodia on Thursday, according to a statement from Kith Meng’s Royal Group. Japan's JTrust Bank, announced that they had acquired a 55% of stake in ANZ Royal Bank. According to a Royal Group