The National Committee for the Prevention and Crackdown on Natural Resource Crimes, led by the National Military Police, on Wednesday denied that it has hesitated to crack down on illegal logging in Kantuy Neak area located in a protected area in Ratanakkiri province.
The denial was made in a press release to respond to recent accusations in local media and on Facebook that authorities hesitated to take legal action as 1,887 logs of timber were found in the Kantuy Neak area.
It stated that the committee had gone to investigate forest crimes in the Kantuy Neak area located in Virak Chey National Park in Ratannakkiri’s Taveng district from December 29 to January 16.
Authorities discovered 2,068 logs of illegal wood including 181 logs ripped by fire. The timber was seized and handed over to provincial authorities to safeguard before sending the case to court.
“We confirm that the National Committee for the Prevention and Crackdown on Natural Resource Crimes was created on a decision by the government and that it carries out its duties in accordance with the laws. If there is a crime, it must be cracked down on. There is no hesitation,” the press released said.
The Committee has so far auctioned 7,385 cubic meters of timber seized in Mondulkiri, Kratie, and Tbong Khmum provinces, it said.
Committee spokesman Eng Hy said authorities did not see any trucks or suspects in the vicinity of the logs found in the Kantuy Neak area.
He said last year, the Committee arrested and sent at least 59 suspects, including some tycoons, to court for involvement in forest crimes and seized 9,215 cubic meters of mixed wood and 491 trucks.
In a separate case, Preah Vihear provincial Military Police, Forest Administration and relevant authorities investigated and found 20 cubic metres of planks and logs in the forest in Tbeng Meanchey district’s Brame commune on Tuesday, provincial military police commander Kang Saokun said on Wednesday.
“The timber was seized and handed over to Forestry Administration officials for further action. They are measuring it,” he said, adding that no suspect was seen at the scene and the timber was impounded at a district office of the Forestry Administration.