Friday, November 22, 2013

Cambodian Logging Tycoon Accused of Concession Violations

Chheang Vun : Hun Sen’s government would never allow anyone to conduct logging without prior approval, adding that the prime minister “has already made it clear that anyone who is caught illegally logging will be prosecuted.” [whatever!]

Timber is transported by a truck belonging to one of Try Pheap's
 companies. Photo courtesy of CHRTF
RFA, 2013-11-21

A Cambodian rights group has alleged that a logging tycoon close to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s family and the ruling party has been granted state land concessions that are nearly seven times above the limit under the law.

In a 50-page report, local nongovernmental organization Cambodia Human Rights Task Force (CHRTF) also accused timber magnate Try Pheap of blatantly flouting conditions under which he was granted the economic land concessions (ELC).

It also charged that Try Pheap had channeled around U.S. $1 million to Hun Sen’s family and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) for unspecified expenditures before the July 28 elections whose results remain disputed despite official returns declaring the CPP as the victor.

[ No one likes me...Hmmmm.....]
In response to the allegations, a senior CPP official told RFA’s Khmer Service on Thursday that the government would investigate the matter, saying the authorities would never allow companies to operate ELCs illegally.

In Wednesday’s report, CHRTF claimed that Try Pheap had amassed nearly 70,000 hectares (173,000 acres) of ELCs, or seven times more than the 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres) allowed to a single individual, through as many as 15 companies operating under his name or that of his wife, Mao Mom.

According to Article 59 of Cambodia’s Land Law, individuals or legal entities controlled by the same person cannot hold more than 10,000 hectares of ELCs, even if it is spread over multiple concessions.

That law allows the government to make use of all “private state land” and lease them to companies for as many as 99 years.

Nearly 1,500 families have been evicted from their homes since 2010 as a result of Try Pheap’s acquisitions, which have also encroached on protected forests, wildlife sanctuaries and as many as 20 national parks, the report said.

“We have conducted studies on Try Pheap’s companies and we found that they breached their contracts with the government [according to what is required under] land concession licenses,” Ouch Leng, director of CHRTF, told RFA’s Khmer Service.

“The companies have mainly cut down the forests, but they have left the land undeveloped,” without facing punishment, he said.

Ouch Leng said that Try Pheap and his family had paid around U.S. $1 million to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s family and the CPP.

“Before the election, they spent more than U.S. $1 million,” Ouch Leng said, claiming that he had been told about the payment by members of Try Pheap’s family.

“[Try Pheap’s] family members can’t enjoy a rich lifestyle because they spent so much money on the ruling party and Hun Sen’s family,” he said, without providing details about how the money was channeled or what it was used for.

Special preference

CHRTF said it had sent a team of investigators to compile information on Try Pheap’s companies and to track company officials as they transported the timber into Vietnam for resale to third countries.

Try Pheap has exclusive rights to collect and buy luxury timber, mainly rosewood, from government-granted land concessions in 15 provinces, the CHRTF report said, and his companies also clear timber from concession areas in nine other provinces.

“Through our investigation, we found that [the main entity] Try Pheap Import Export is the biggest operation [in Cambodia] extracting luxury wood and exporting it to foreign countries through Vietnam,” the report said.

“The company pays only minimal attention to [developing the] agricultural industry, such as through the planting of rubber and pepper [as required under the concessions]. It received land concessions and only cuts down the forests—it doesn’t develop the concession areas.”

The Phnom Penh Post cited Ouch Leng as saying that the company has also “fed and sponsored armed forces and civil servants in the concession area[s] by helping build offices, but it does not help improve people’s lives.”

Try Pheap’s 14 other companies are largely involved with logging and the exporting of wood, though the tycoon also controls some mining interests as well, the report said.

His “close ties” with the government have allowed Try Pheap Import Export to open 27 offices in 12 provinces, it said, adding that CHRTF is in possession of documents from the environment and commerce ministries that detail the company’s concessions.

It claims Try Pheap is closely connected with officials from the ministries of interior and agriculture, the military, forestry officials and other concessionaires.

CHRTF said in a statement that it had released the report focusing only on Try Pheap’s companies “to urge the government to take action and show the truth behind why our forests are disappearing.”

Response to claims

Try Pheap could not be reached by RFA on Thursday for comment on the allegations.

But the Post reported that a company representative in Preah Vihear province denied allegations of illegal activity.

“Our company does not log illegally,” said the representative, speaking on condition of anonymity, adding that Try Pheap’s companies had rights to buy timber in only eight provinces.

“We buy wood that has been seized by the authorities … The money goes to the state. We do not export it. We process it in Phnom Penh as furniture.”

He called allegations about the companies’ practices false, and said that villagers were given adequate compensation when they were relocated.

When asked by RFA about claims of concession violations by Try Pheap’s companies and allegations about money funneled by the tycoon to the CPP and Hun Sen, senior CPP official and National Assembly—or parliament—spokesman Chheang Vun called non-sanctioned deforestation “a crime.”

“But any deforestation that is done with the permission of the government following detailed studies is legal,” he said.

Hun Sen’s government would never allow anyone to conduct logging without prior approval, Chheang Vun said, adding that the prime minister “has already made it clear that anyone who is caught illegally logging will be prosecuted.”

He criticized CHRTF for issuing a report without having consulted the government.

“NGOs should [first] file complaints with the government,” Chheang Vun said, as well as with Cambodia’s anti-corruption task force and the National Assembly, calling for a probe into the claims.

He pledged to investigate the allegations, saying “leading lawmakers in the areas raised by the NGO will hold discussions with permanent commissions to see which steps to pursue.”

Try Pheap’s activities have been the focus of several reports this year, including one in August by the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, which said it had evidence of rampant illegal logging in Preah Vihear.

Another investigation in October by National Resource and Wildlife Preservation Organization concluded that licenses granted to the tycoon for extracting and buying timber from ELCs will leave the areas ecologically impoverished.

Reported by RFA’s Khmer Service. Translated by Samean Yun. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.


Anonymous said...

All khmer people know this and do nothing! to rich and poor! gun can kill both. because khmer people do nothing about and this keep happening... why take out the bad government or high official who's sold the country.

Anonymous said...

copy and watch this link. so truth

Anonymous said...

Look at ah Chhean Vun, is he look physically Khmer? To me he is a real youn, his 99% blood content is youn blood. He is good at spinning news and government announcement, so why ah Kwak likes him so much. Khmers should never forget this Chker youn whenever the round up time comes to hang them up high. Do not forget ah Chker Chhean Vun and ah Chker Phay Siphorm. Please have their criminal records ready.

Anonymous said...

Do not worry if they are close to Hun Sen family. We all know these corrupt people, but they are above the law.

Anonymous said...

Since the Yuon slave Hun Sen w'ont do anything to stop the criminals who destroyed our forest, it is time to stop those criminals ourselves.

One way to stop those criminals from cutting down more trees is just gathering a few hundreds of people, then walking on the high way to stop those logging trucks ourselves and chase those truck drivers away.

If people keep doing this a few times, those criminals will go away.

If not, we will escalate our efforts by burning those criminals' trucks.

If the actions of those criminals who destroyed our forest were legal, then burning the trucks of those criminals must be even more legal.

Furthermore, it is time to take Khmer soul Angkor Wat, Phnom Bokor, Koh Tun Say, etc... back from Ah Kantorb Sok Kong. Khmer people are extremely sick with this pest Sok Kong.

Koh Tral later.

So far, have we absorbed enough pain from the traitor Hun Sen ?

It is time to do something to save our motherland.

Bun Thoeun

Anonymous said...

His face looks as loser.

Anonymous said...

អាឆ្កួត ឬ អាយួន ឈាងវុន មកបំផ្លាញតែលុយរាស្រ្តខ្មែរទេ។ អាយួនកន្ទប សុីកន្ទក់ ដុះកន្ទុយ សុីរុយកើតរោគ សុីទំពកដុះមមិស អាស្រកីយឿ។ ឆាប់វិលក្បាលទៅស្រុកអ្ហែងវិញទៅ ប្រយ័ត្នដូចសម័យ លន់ នល់

Anonymous said...

A Cheang Vong, Phy see Phan and Cheam Yeap must face capital punishment int he future, because they are Cambodian traitor for the 21 century

Anonymous said...

Cheang vun a eu une diplôme qu il avait acheté en france, mais par contre lui a eu un vrai certificat de capacité pour conduite un taxi de parisien, donc l équipe de la gouvernement de hun sen sont vraiment number One.

Anonymous said...

Cheang vun, tu veut un bras de fer ou un bras l honneur?

Anonymous said...

Voh Voh voh, Mr le bras de fer est vachement tris, tu n es qu un minable que le peuple qui déteste le plus parmi les autres animaux de youn.

Anonymous said...

HOT NEWS FROM FACE BOOK saying that today, CHEAM YEAP"car has hit two young Cambodian men in Kean Say and got badly injured, CHEAM YEAP's car did not stop and run quickly, Police did not dare to stop his car, this sing has warned CHEAM YEAP that this time his car has hit Human next time his car will be crashed with other car, like Mr Tree Nareen the former Bantey Meanchey governor and Mr Hok Long Dee got Helicopter crashed, you see do good got good, do bad will get bad ?

Anonymous said...

Kill Hun Sen save Cambodia,kill Pheap Try save forests,you got the power to do just that,it your obligation...

Anonymous said...

អាឈាមវុន អាឯងដែលដឹងទេថា ឆ្កែខ្មែរមិន
ដែលមិនសីុលាមកទេ ។ បើចាប់បានពួក
អាបំផ្លាញព្រៃឈើ តើពួកអាឯងនឹងធ្វើអ្វីពួកអា
អស់ហ្នុងទៅ ? ។ បើពួកអារដ្ឋាភិបាលពុក
រលួយ រដ្ឋាភិបាលទុច្ចរិតរបស់ពួកអាឯងជាចៅ
ហ្វាយពួកវាផ្ទាល់ ជាអ្នកបញ្ជារឲពួកវាធ្វើរឿង
អស់ទាំងហ្នឹង ។ ពួកវាគ្រាន់តែកូនអុករបស់ពួក
អាឯង គ្រាន់តែជាអ្នកឈរឈ្មោះជំនួសពួកអា
ឯងតែប៉ុណ្ណោះ ។ ហ៊ានតែដាក់ទោសពួកវា ៗ វានឹងបកអាក្រាតចេញមកអស់ថា អ្នកណាខ្លះ
ជាប់ពាក់ព័ន្ទក្នុងរឿងហ្នឹងខ្លះ ជាមិនខាន ។
ដូច្នេះ យ៉ាងច្រើនណាស់ពួកអាឯងគ្រាន់តែសំ
ដែងឆាកល្ខោន ធ្វើជាកាត់ទោសកំបាំងមុខ
ហើយ ទុកឲវានៅក្រៅច្បាប់ដូចករណិយអា
ឈូកបនឌិត អញ្ចឹង ។ វាមិនខ្មោចទេ​ មិនបាច់
និយាយឲគេស្តាប់ សំដែងឲគេមើលនោះទេ ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋសុទ្ធតែដឹងនូវទង្វើបោកប្រាស់ទាំងអស់នេះច្បាស់ណាស់ ។ ទើបប្រជាពលរដ្ឋអស់ជំ
នឿ ហើយ បោះឆ្នោតទម្លាក់ពួកអាឯងហ្នុង កុំធ្វើ
មុខក្រាស់តទៅទៀត ។ គេស្គាល់ក្រយ៉ៅខាត មាយាទថោកទាបរបស់ពួអាឯងយ៉ាងច្បាស់ហើយ ល្មមដើរចេញហើយ កុំឲគេទម្លាក់ឲធ្ងន់ជាង
ហ្នឹង នាំតែឈឺកាន់តែខ្លាំងទេ ។

Anonymous said...

Please keep find the crox and reveal one by one to the whole that the only way can stop them even Hun sen didn't do anything but can anoying them and make all of that guy can't sleep .thank you for finding and tell the whole world.

Anonymous said...

How is going? Are you have problems with your hearing and vision?The people of Cambodia will paying your medication bills Okay.

Anonymous said...

Ah CHIEN (DOG) Vun is purely yourn.
He is barking for yourn's dog Hoon Xen to stay on his current job!

Anonymous said...

ឃើញមុខអាខ្មោចនេះគួរអោយខ្ពើម អាមុខងាប់ ។

Anonymous said...

Chheam Vun ah chheam thourk.

Anonymous said...

Chheam Vun ah chheam thourk.