The Ministry of Agriculture’s Forestry Administration plans to confiscate all chainsaws unless they are registered with the ministry, ministry officials said Sunday.
Forestry Administration staff have seized more than 1,000 chainsaws since Prime Minister Hun Sen issued an order Sept 20 to eliminate chainsaws in bid to curb illegal logging, Forestry Ad-ministration Director Ty Sokhun said.
Officials plan to step up the campaign this month by searching people’s homes for the mechanical cutters, he said.
“We will confiscate chainsaws in people’s houses and at markets in January if people don’t have permission from the Forestry Administra-tion,” Ty Sokhun added.
From now on, chainsaws will need to be registered with the Forestry Administration and li-censed like motorcycles and cars, Ty Sokhun added. “We consider [chainsaws] like weapons because they destroy forest trees—even if they are small, they can cut trees very fast.”
Vann Sophanna, director of the Tonle Sap Forestry Administration Inspectorate, said that 32 chainsaws had been confiscated in five provinces of that region in Novem-ber and December, and that home and market seizures were to start.
Thun Saray, director of the rights organization Adhoc, said that chainsaw seizures will not do much to protect the forests.
Around 100 pieces of legislation to stop large-scale deforestation have not been implemented and the senior officials involved in illegal logging never prosecuted, he said.
“They have only confiscated chainsaws and arrested ordinary citizens and low-ranking officials,” he said.
“Forest destruction will stop when [the forest] is all gone,” Thun Saray said, adding that only about a fifth of Cambodia’s forests still stand.