Reacting to an order from Prime Minister Hun Sen, more than 100 Kratie provincial forestry officials, police and RCAF soldiers staged a crackdown on illegal logging in Snoul district last week, officials said Friday.
Numerous high-ranking border police as well as officials from Phnom Penh and Kratie are accused of illegally grabbing state-owned forested land adjacent to National Route 13, said Keo Chamnan, chief of Snoul district’s Khsim commune forest administration.
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Chan Sarun said last Friday that he sent his officials to stage the crackdown and to list all those involved in illegal logging and land grabbing.
“It was so difficult on this grabbing because there are powerful people being involved,” he said.
“Samdech Hun Sen is gravely worried about such anarchy out there. He ordered a stronger crackdown made and told me to submit to him a list of persons [involved in land grabbing,” he added.
Over a three-day period, more than 18,000 stakes illegally erected to surround 244 hectares of forest were pulled out by authorities, said Keo Chamnan.
He said the special unit will continue operations throughout Snoul district’s four communes.
More than 2,000 hectares of land have been illegally grabbed, Keo Chamnan said.
The area of concern includes the Ministry of Environment-controlled Snoul district wildlife sanctuary, whose forests are being encroached on at an alarming rate, he added.