Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Burning of seized logs in Pursat ‘suspicious’

Burning of seized logs in Pursat ‘suspicious’

Burning of seized logs in Pursat ‘suspicious’

A local activist and a wildlife sanctuary official criticised yesterday the burning of 120 pieces of luxury wood by soldiers from Unit 501 in Pursat province on Saturday, saying the wood should have been confiscated by the Forestry Administration to be used as evidence.

The military unit, working with Thmor Da commune police officers in Veal Veng district, intercepted a makeshift truck loaded with the more than 2,000 kilograms of rosewood in the early hours of Saturday morning. The soldiers burned the timber following the raid.

Thmor Da Commune Chief Prom Ngon said he approved the torching of the evidence, with the support of the military unit commander, Suon Sarom, and Pursat Provincial Governor Mao Thonin, who could not be reached for comment.

But forest conservation activist Kuoch Veng called the torching of such a large trove of evidence highly suspicious. “I think that over 2 tonnes of rosewood belonged to a powerful person in government,” he said.

A Phnom Samkos Wildlife Sanctuary official working with the Ministry of Environment and speaking on condition of anonymity said the unit’s decision to burn the evidence undermines government attempts to crack down on the illegal timber trade. “The makeshift truck was impounded [to prepare] for a lawsuit, but they burnt the rosewood,” the official said. “This act is [in] contrast to the law.”

Pursat court spokesman Chhay Hon yesterday said the court will examine the case if the Forestry Administration requests it. “However, until now, I have not yet received a clear report from [them] or those armed forced units yet,” he said.

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,

  • 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

  • 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

  • China-Cambodia tourism forum held

    The Cambodian tourism sector must be prepared to welcome a growing number of Chinese tourists, as they lead the globe in the number of outbound travellers and were responsible for the most visitors to the Kingdom last year, the country’s tourism minister said on