Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sanctuary bridge ‘torched’



Sanctuary bridge ‘torched’

Stockpiled lumber allegedly felled in Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary in Ratanakkiri this month
Stockpiled lumber allegedly felled in Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary in Ratanakkiri this month. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Sanctuary bridge ‘torched’

The burning of a bridge that provided access to the Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary in Ratanakkiri is the handiwork of two oknhas and local environment officers, villagers have claimed.

In a complaint to rights group Adhoc, members of the ethnic Lao community in Kon Mom district say that the okhnas and officials have been carrying out extensive logging in the sanctuary and burned the bridge to cover their tracks.

“The oknhas … and environment officials colluded with each other to log the sanctuary for a number of months,” said Chhay Thy, provincial coordinator for Adhoc.

The honourific “oknha” is a Royal title bestowed on men or women who make significant financial contributions to the ruling party and its projects.

Thy claimed loggers had piled up flammable rubbish on a 3-by-6-metre bridge that connected the sanctuary to the nearby Hoang Anh Andong Meas economic land concession and set it alight.

“Their superiors began realising this illegal logging was taking place and attempted to visit there, so the bridge was burned,” he said. Villagers, in their complaint, claimed that logged timber was being taken onto the grounds of nearby land concessions.

Seng Mony, a representative of rubber company Hoang Anh Andong Meas, said he no longer worked there. Other representatives could not be reached.

A community member who asked not to be named because he was concerned for his safety said extensive logging of the sanctuary had been going on for the past two years, a claim consistent with previous reports in the Post.

He believed that more than 50 people and 10 trucks were involved.

Chhoem Sokhim, chief of Sre Angkrang commune, said logging within the sanctuary certainly occurred but he was not aware who was behind it.

Ou Sothy, director of the sanctuary, and Son Sovannsong, an officer below him, could not be reached yesterday, while Chou Sophal, from the provincial department of environment, declined to comment.

Adhoc plans to visit the wildlife sanctuary next week, Thy said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and