Pandemic-tightened border heralds end to cross-border logging

15
Feb

Source: The Phnom Penh Post

A senior official in Preah Vihear province said that in the last few years no Cambodians had crossed the border to illegally fell Kranhuong trees (Dalbergia cochinchinensis) in Thailand, as both authorities had tightened border crossings due to the outbreak of Covid-19.

At a press conference – held to discuss the progress of Preah Vihear’s local communes and the direction of the coming year’s work – at the Office of the Council of Ministers on February 15, deputy governor of Preah Vihear, Ung Vuthy explained that it had previously been an issue. The high prices the luxury timber commanded had tempted some Khmer to cross into to Thailand to log trees. The tightened border security had ended the practise, he said.

 

“Due to the Covid-19 situation in Thailand, we have paid close attention to monitoring cross border travel. Thai authorities have also tightened their border measures.

“Consequently, there has been no illegal logging of Kranhuong trees during this period. Before, because of the high price of the timber, there were people who would try. Now, they cannot cross the border to conduct this illegal activity,” he added.

 

He added that Cambodia has excellent cross-border relationships with its neighbours and that there were no major irregularities.

“Along the border, we have security and safety, in accordance with the Win-Win policy of our prime minister. All border authorities are cooperating with one another,” he said.

Vuthy added that authorities from all three nations met every month to hear reports and find solutions to problems along the Thai-Lao border.

Labour rights advocate and executive director of the Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights Moeun Tola told The Post that whether Cambodian workers migrated to Thailand to find factory work or log timber, it was clearly driven by living conditions in Cambodia and a lack of work here.

He urged the government to consider more local development, such as agriculture, and he called on people not to cross the border into Thailand. It was risky, he said because migrants were sometimes cheated by brokers or even Thai soldiers.

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