Forestry Officials, Five Companies Under Investigation

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Members of an anti-forestry crimes task force inspect illegal timber in Mondulkiri province’s Koh Nhek district on July 16, 2019. (National Military Police)
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Five companies and three Forestry Administration officials are under investigation for suspected involvement in illegal logging, officials said on Thursday.

At a press conference, National Anti-Deforestation Committee spokesman Eng Hy said the companies under investigation all operated in Mondulkiri province.

“If those companies are violating the law, we will withdraw their … license,” Hy said.

Hy gave the names of the companies verbally as Master K Sun, Yan Chao, Touchwood, Vichery and Nai Na, though their spellings could not be confirmed and only Touchwood and Vichery appeared in the Commerce Ministry business directory.

The committee announced a renewed crackdown on forestry crimes on July 8, and on the day after arrested okhna Soeng Sam Ol and three associates while confiscating 40 trucks.

Meanwhile, provincial court prosecutor Hieng Sopheak issued three summonses on Wednesday for three Mondulkiri Forestry Administration officers to be questioned by August 24 for their alleged complicity in forestry crimes.

The summonses named the officials as Hun Vanne, chief of the Royor Forestry Administration; Loeung Phirun, chief of the Sre Sangkum-Nongkhilek Forestry Administration; and Kong Vireak, chief of the Koh Nhek Forestry Administration.

Adhoc’s Mondulkiri coordinator, Ieng Mengly, urged authorities to continue to broaden the scope of their investigations.

“There are more companies in Mondulkiri province [involved] — pointing to only these five companies will not be enough,” Mengly said.

Other powerful tycoons should also come under investigation, he said.

(Translated and edited from the original articles on VOD Khmer)

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