The Ministry of Environment and the Royal Gendarmerie of Cambodia have agreed to establish standard operating procedures (SOPs) for preventing and suppressing natural resource crimes, ensuring the sustainable management of forests, wildlife and other natural resources. 

This consensus was made in a recent meeting between Minister of Environment Eang Sophalleth and Sao Sokha, commander of the National Military Police and chair of the National Committee for Prevention and Crackdown on Natural Resources Crime. 

Following discussions and alignment on a robust cooperative stance to combat natural resource crimes, Sophalleth, accompanied by Sokha and colleagues, inspected the national military police and equipment prepared for intervention across the country.

“The national military police stands ready to deploy forces and resources upon the request of the competent ministry and capital-provincial authorities, particularly when these entities encounter challenges in suppressing natural resource crimes due to a shortage of personnel,” Sokha stated.

Sokha emphasised a strict stance against all forms of crime, without any tolerance.

“Any intervention by officials, regardless of their power or wealth, and those invoking leadership names, should be documented and reported to the national committee for action. Subsequently, a report should be submitted to the head of the government for legal proceedings because everyone must face equal treatment under the law,” he stated.

“Moving forward, we focus solely on law enforcement without exceptions. Assets used for criminal activities must be seized, stored and confiscated following the law, treating them as state property. We safeguard the righteous and firmly oppose crime to preserve our natural resources for future generations. I urge all provinces to disseminate this information clearly,” he added.

In December 2016, former Prime Minister Hun Sen established the National Committee for Prevention and Crackdown of Natural Resources Crime, aiming to extend the reach of crime prevention and crackdown efforts nationwide.

According to the decision, the committee is tasked with preventing and cracking down on natural resource crimes, including deforestation, illegal timber transportation, wildlife export, illegal land encroachment and illicit mining throughout the country.

Under the current leadership of Prime Minister Hun Manet in the seventh mandate, it has been decided in principle to uphold all existing mechanisms and enhance the enforcement of government directives in place to prevent and suppress natural resource crimes.