To impose more pressure on the government, the environmental watchdog Global Witness has presented its latest findings on rampant illegal logging to King Norodom Sihanouk.
Patrick Alley, a Global Witness director, said his London-based group met with King Sihanouk in Siem Reap for 45 minutes Monday. “The King expressed his support for the work of Global Witness,” Alley said at a press conference Tuesday.
The Global Witness report, the first to be printed in Khmer, discloses the scale of illegal logging during the recent dry season and identifies the major logging companies, officials and businessmen involved. Both the World Bank and Global Witness predict Cambodia’s forests will be commercially destroyed within five years at current cutting rates.
“We hope that with the active participation of the King, the Khmer translation [of the report], the World Bank report and the support of the international community, we can prevent the destruction of the Cambodian forest,” Alley said.
Global Witness also recently charged that $50 million worth of logs are being illegally exported to Thailand via Laos.
“It is not true at all, and we ask Global Witness to provide enough evidence in this case,” Agriculture Minister Tao Seng Huor said Tuesday. He also denied allegations of his involvement in licensing illegal log exports.