Dam Critic Questioned Over Illegal Logging

The Koh Kong Provincial Court on Friday questioned an Areng Valley villager opposed to a government-backed hydropower dam over allegations of illegal logging but has yet to lay charges.

The court summoned Ven Vorn in February in response to a complaint filed by the Forestry Administration accusing him of illegal logging in the valley, but delayed the original hearing date to give him more time to prepare.

After being questioned on Friday, Mr. Vorn said that prosecutor Bou Bun Heang had quizzed him over the Forestry Administration’s allegations and that he reiterated that he had bought the timber in question from locals and used it to build a community center.

“The prosecutor did not lay charges yet because the case is still being considered,” he said.

Mr. Vorn has said that the court is pursuing the case because he has joined protests against the proposed Stung Cheay Areng dam, which would force him and hundreds of fellow ethnic Chong to move out of the valley, where they have lived for generations.

Court clerk Chhin Long on Sunday confirmed that Mr. Vorn was not charged on Friday. Mr. Bun Heang declined to comment.

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