Patrol says letter used to log illegally

Monks perform a religious ceremony for Prey Lang forest community members late last week. Photo supplied.

Monks perform a religious ceremony for Prey Lang forest community members late last week. Photo supplied.

Members of the Prey Lang Community Network (PLCN) handed over five seized chainsaws and an expired permission letter, the latter of which they say had been used to justify logging in the Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary, to the Stung Treng provincial environment department yesterday.

The letter had been issued by a local commune official so that loggers could ostensibly collect wood to build a local school. But the letter had expired 13 days earlier, and lacked some of the necessary details, network members said.

Members of the PLCN had been celebrating a tree ordaining ceremony when they heard chainsaws buzzing nearby. They then located the logger, seizing his chainsaws and the letter.

The permission letter had been submitted to the Thala Barivat district governor by Chea Norm, a commune chief in Siem Bok district, seeking permission for 42 cubic metres of timber from a community forest to be cut between December 26, 2016, and January 26, 2017.

Norm said yesterday that the school, which is in the process of being built, still needed more timber for its completion.

Source: Phnom Penh Post

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