Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Suspects wanted for logging thousands of trees in Mondulkiri



Suspects wanted for logging thousands of trees in Mondulkiri

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The trees were buried to hide the evidence from authorities while other trees were burned. Photo supplied

Suspects wanted for logging thousands of trees in Mondulkiri

Mondulkiri provincial authorities are working to identify suspects who cut down tens of thousands of trees and buried them in a 60ha patch of forestland in order to take over the land.

The search came after a joint force confiscated three machines in Pu Leh village, in O’Raing district’s Dak Dam commune.

Provincial Forestry Administration director Um Van Sopheak told The Post police have been looking into the case since last Thursday.

He said local community people had reported to the police about the case. When the operation began, suspects fled into the forest, leaving behind an excavator, a tractor, and two motorbikes seized as evidence.

“We are measuring the trees, counting them, and measuring the land that suspects had cleared. I cannot say clearly how many trees were buried and the size of the land that was cleared. I will wait for official information,” he said.

Dam Dak commune police chief Phong Hiek said on Sunday he participated in the operation, but could not estimate how many trees had been cut down. He said the suspects cut down the trees and buried them in order to hide the evidence from authorities.

He said some of the trees were buried, and some were about to be buried.

“The trees are not luxury timber. They are just trees that were cut and burned. They did not attempt to bring the trees out, but they cleared the forest in order to occupy the land,” Hiek said.

Provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc Eang Mengly said the case needs to be investigated and the suspects arrested. He said there could be collusion given the size of the land that was cleared, but local authorities did not take action on time.

“The situation was only handled when officials from the national level went to the field directly. Only then did we see local authorities take action,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Preah Sihanouk hit with travel ban

    Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration has announced a temporary travel ban to and from the province, except for ambulances and trucks transporting goods. The announcement came after prime minister Hun Sen called on people in the province to travel only if necessary, and that people not

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • AstraZeneca jabs touch down in Phnom Penh airport

    The first shipment of 324,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/SII vaccine which was provided through the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility was delivered to Phnom Penh International Airport on March 2. The rest of the COVAX provided vaccines will arrive in Cambodia at a later date.

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said