Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Mondulkiri forestry crime seized evidence should be moved’

‘Mondulkiri forestry crime seized evidence should be moved’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Thousands of pieces of evidence seized from forestry crimes in Mondulkiri province. Photo supplied

‘Mondulkiri forestry crime seized evidence should be moved’

Hundreds of cars, thousands of motorbikes and chainsaws and a haul of timber impounded as evidence at Mondulkiri province’s Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary are falling into disrepair and should be moved for proper care, said provincial environment department director Keo Sopheak.

He said in 2016, responsibility for the sanctuary which covers some 300,000ha had been transferred from the Forestry Administration, under the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, to the Ministry of Environment.

However, although the government had approved the transfer of the evidence, it was still being managed by the Forestry Administration as no formal handover had yet taken place.

Discussions between the two ministries were ongoing, Sopheak said.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries had at one time wanted to remove the timber but transfer the cars and motorbikes to the Ministry of Environment.

He said he wanted the transfer to happen soon because the evidence was being kept in a disorderly manner and was hindering the Environment Department’s work.

“It is difficult both for me and the Forestry Administration. The administration has to employ staff to guard the evidence and on my side, we are not sure what to do with it because I need to use the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary as a training centre."

“It’s impeding my department’s work. If they remove it, it will be easy. If they hand it over to me, I’ll keep the cars in an orderly manner so they aren’t just scattered about randomly. I want to put in a tender so the evidence doesn’t just rot away there. The longer it’s kept, the more it is deteriorating. If we act now, a lot of it can be saved,” Sopheak said.

Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra said: “The transfer to the Ministry of Environment has not yet been made because most of the evidence is part of ongoing court processes.”

Provincial Forestry Administration director Um Van Sopheak said: “The evidence was assessed and put out to tender some time ago but I don’t remember exactly when.”

Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary director Din Bunthoeun said he could not put a figure on the amount of seized evidence, but he said the chainsaws alone numbered more than 2,000.

“We are safeguarding the evidence for the courts. It has not been lost, but a lot of it is in a run-down state,” Bunthoeun said.

Legal expert Sok Sam Oeun said according to the law, confiscated evidence must be kept properly by the state and not allowed to deteriorate because the court may order some items to be handed back to their original owners.

MOST VIEWED

  • Wing Bank opens new branch in front of Orkide The Royal along Street 2004

    Wing Bank celebrates first anniversary as commercial bank with launch of brand-new branch. One year since officially launching with a commercial banking licence, Wing Bank on March 14 launched a new branch in front of Orkide The Royal along Street 2004. The launch was presided over by

  • Girl from Stung Meanchey dump now college grad living in Australia

    After finishing her foundational studies at Trinity College and earning a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Melbourne in 2022, Ron Sophy, a girl who once lived at the Stung Meanchey garbage dump and scavenged for things to sell, is now working at a private

  • Ministry orders all schools, public and private, to close for SEA Games

    From April 20 to May 18, all public and private educational institutions will be closed to maintain order and support Cambodia's hosting of the 32nd SEA Games and 12th ASEAN Para Games, said a directive from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport. Cambodia will host the

  • Wat Phnom hornbills attract tourists, locals

    Thanks to the arrival of a friendly flock of great hornbills, Hour Rithy, a former aviculturist – or raiser of birds – in Kratie province turned Phnom Penh tuk tuk driver, has seen a partial return to his former profession. He has become something of a guide

  • Almost 9K tourists see equinox sunrise at Angkor Wat

    Nearly 9,000 visitors – including 2,226 international tourists – gathered at Angkor Wat on March 21 to view the spring equinox sunrise, according to a senior official of the Siem Reap provinical tourism department. Ngov Seng Kak, director of the department, said a total of 8,726 people visited Angkor Wat to

  • Angkor Beer strengthens national pride with golden new look and fresher taste

    Angkor Beer – the "Gold of Angkor" – has a new look, one that is more stylish and carries a premium appeal, as well as a fresher taste and smoother flavour, making it the perfect choice for any gathering. Angkor Beer recently launched its new design, one