Cambodia: A wildlife NGO plans to conduct a field investigation into alleged illegal logging in Pursat province despite threats and intimidation

Author: Khouth Sophak Chakrya, The Phnom Penh Post, Published on: 9 January 2019

"NGO to probe illegal logging", 9 January 2019

A prominent forest activist based in Kampong Speu province is set to launch a field investigation into alleged illegal logging at the Phnom Oral and Phnom Kravanh wildlife sanctuaries despite “threats of arrest” by rangers and military officers in the area.

NGO Natural Resource and Wildlife Preservation Organisation (NRWPO) director Chea Hean said his team has received reports of forestry crimes … in Pursat province.

Hean said the threats came when his team attempted to probe alleged forestry crimes at the sanctuaries … but was stopped by the officers at O’trav Sub-station II in Santre commune in Pursat province’s Phnom Kravanh district…

“Four military officers and park rangers armed with AK-47 and M-16 assault rifles banned us from entering the forest and threatened to arrest us on Ta Thom’s order,” he said, referring to the officers’ superior…

Pursat provincial environment department director Pan Morakat told … that he had seen Hean’s letter to the Ministry of Environment about his planned patrol in the area, but he said the proposal was not approved by the ministry.

Morakat said the park rangers and military officers had “good intentions” and the prohibition was meant to ensure their safety…

Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra told … that while he welcomed public participation in forest protection, he urged all stakeholders to follow the law and cooperate with the authorities when tackling forestry crimes…

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