Forestry Administration officials on Friday confiscated 1,000 pieces of luxury wood on land belonging to a Vietnamese rubber company that has been repeatedly accused of illegal logging in Ratanakkiri province’s O’Yadaw district, local officials and human rights workers said Sunday. Romash Svat, a representative of some 300 ethnic Jarai families living in Paknhai commune’s Lom village, said the huge stockpile was discovered inside a 6,000-hectare rubber concession belonging to the Vietnamese-owned Company 72 during a routine forestry patrol on Wednesday. … Chhay Thy, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said that each of the exactly 1,000 pieces of luxury-grade Thnong wood, a protected species of teak, measured 1.2 meters long by 40 cm in diameter. … Adhoc and local officials have accused Company 72 of illegal logging, with impunity, on a grand scale in Ratanakkiri since July 2012. Despite Adhoc and local groups calling on the government to cancel the firm’s economic land concession, which was granted in early 2012, the firm has continued its work without hindrance from Cambodian authorities. … Pen Bonnar, senior investigator for Adhoc, said firms such as Company 72 are able to log luxury wood with impunity because they are colluding with the Cambodian armed forces and local officials who share in the profits from the illegal logging trade.
Aun Pheap and Ben Woods