PHNOM PENH - The rights group Adhoc says it is monitoring “at least 100” individuals who are complicit in forestry crimes across the country.
These include “high-ranking officers” of the police and military police; business tycoons; and ordinary citizens across 11 provinces, Chan Soveth, a lead investigator for the group, told reporters Monday.
Vested interests are “ravaging [trees] even in national parks and in protected zones for wildlife,” Chan Soveth said.
Cambodia’s forests could be wiped out in “only six months” if more action is not taken by the government, said Seng Sok Heng, coordinator for the Community Peace-Building Network.
“Villagers are incited by private companies to deforest, and the companies do the buying and exporting,” he said.
Government spokesman Phay Siphan said the government recognizes that forest crimes do take place, and he said the most recent information was important for the authorities to “take further, efficient action.”