VN Rubber Firm Reported To Be Illegally Cutting Luxury Wood

Local rights group Adhoc said on Tuesday that it had received reports that a Vietnamese rubber company has began to cut certain species of luxury wood in Ratana­kkiri province’s Voeun Sai district, though the firm has only the right to study the impact of a proposed 10,000-hectare land concession.

Adhoc Provincial Coordinator Pen Bonnar said that local villagers and activists had witnessed trucks and SUVs loaded with luxury timber leaving from the proposed concession area for Viet­nam on Sun­day and Monday.

“Economic concessions don’t give improvement to the indigenous peoples, people are getting poorer and poorer,” Mr Bonnar said, adding that he didn’t know the total number of families whose farmland would be affected by the concession.

A 51-year-old local activist for Adhoc, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, said by telephone on Tuesday that he saw the SUVs with around 8 Vietnamese nationals, including a police officer armed with an AK-47 rifle, carrying Kronhoung wood that had been cut into blocks, each about 70 centimeters in length.

Ratanakkiri’s Forestry Admini­stration’s Chief You Kanvimean strongly denied any illegal logging in Voeun Sai district, adding that the Adhoc officials might have been confused, as there were trucks in the area from another company that is transporting rubber trees.

“No one has transported the trees from Voeun Sai district,” he said, adding that the Vietnamese concession was only about 5,000 to 6,000 hectares and that it will not affect local residents’ farmland.

The Vietnamese Embassy’s spokesman, Trinh Ba Cam, said that it was impossible for Viet­namese nationals to cut down trees in Cam­bodia, and that the reports from Ratanakkiri were inaccurate.




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