Deputy Prime Minister Bin Chhin oversaw a meeting on illegal logging in the northeast region of Cambodia, reportedly branding the Kingdom’s anti-logging crackdown a “success” despite evidence to the contrary.
Chhin met with Sao Sokha, head of the anti-logging task force, environmental officials and provincial governors from Stung Treng, Ratanakkiri and Mondulkiri on Wednesday.
Srun Darith, with the Ministry of Environment, said the group evaluated the crackdown as “successful”, claiming the task force had “completely” eliminated large-scale trafficking.
“There is no more large-scale forest crime . . . We have done it successfully,” Darith said.
However, a Post investigation earlier this year revealed hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of timber being transported by over 100 loggers in Ratanakkiri, and Vietnamese customs data show illegal imports of timber continue apace.
Darith said the panel also discussed illegal logging in the Sesan Dam area. Hydro Power Lower Sesan 2 Co was given permission to log the dam’s reservoir area but were accused of logging far beyond it for profit.
“The reports from media are not always true,” Darith said.But Goldman Prize-winning environmental activist Ouch Leng said large-scale logging is still common in the northeast.
“The small-scale haulers actually serve the large-scale crimes,” he explained.
Conservationist Marcus Hardtke said many large-scale operations were reported to the ministry this year.
“At the time, the minister claimed investigations were being conducted. Where are the results?” he asked via email.