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Military Police vow Mondulkiri forestry crimes investigation

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A truck trafficking timber from Mondulkiri to Tbong Khmum province was detained by authorities. Supplied

Military Police vow Mondulkiri forestry crimes investigation

The National Military Police vowed to act on the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ order to crack down on forestry crimes which allegedly occurred beyond the perimeter of concession land near the Vietnamese border in Mondulkiri province.

Eng Hy, National Military Police spokesperson, claimed on Sunday that there were many cases of illegal logging and trafficking of timber into Vietnam through the Dam Dak border checkpoint.

He said, “the local forestry administration officials had granted concessions to a large number of companies to log and transport timber”.

To tackle the problem, Hy continued, the National Military Police “experts” are set to investigate the companies which were alleged to carry out illicit forestry activities “very soon”.

However, no set date has yet to be determined.

“We will investigate to ascertain whether or not those companies have carried out deforestation outside the concession land,” Hy told The Post on Sunday.

He said the investigation will be supervised by Hong Vinol, the deputy commander in the national headquarters, with support from the National Police, forestry administration and border military police.

On June 27, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sokhon submitted a letter to Sao Sokha, National Military Police commander and chair of an anti-forestry crimes task force.

In the letter, which was made public on Sunday, the ministry claimed to have obtained information regarding the highly unusual volume of timber transportation between June 10 and 19 at the border checkpoint.

Hundreds of unauthorised vehicles are trafficking timber without any interference from the local authorities, it said.

Sokhon said the instances had raised concern and suspicion of “collusion between the perpetrators and the law enforcement officers”.

“To prevent large scale [timber trafficking] from happening, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries would like the ask his Excellency, chair of the anti-forestry crimes task force, to seriously crack down on forestry crimes accordingly,” Sokhon was quoted as saying in reference to Sao Sokha.

Mondulkiri governor Svay Sam Eang could not be reached for comment over the matter.

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