Cambodia: Report Blames Tycoon for Major Forest Destruction

PHNOM PENH – Local human rights groups have identified 1,400 families who have been forcibly evicted from their land by a single business tycoon and his company.

The Cambodia Human Rights Task Force, a consortium of groups, said in a report Wednesday that Try Pheap, a powerful logging tycoon, has deforested some 70,000 hectares across 11 different provinces, exporting timber to Vietnam and colluding with officials from the Forestry Administration, the military, police and military police.

The new report underscores the ongoing problem linking corruption, powerful business and the destruction of the country’s national resources.

Ouch Leng, president of the Task Force, told VOA Khmer that the Try Pheap Group Co, had deforested land in the provinces of Kampong Speu, Kampong Thom, Koh Kong, Kratie, Mondolkiri, Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear, Pursat, Rattanakkiri, Siem Reap and Stung Treng.

The rights report found that in 15 of 27 sites, illegal logging took place.