Cambodia PM orders rockets fired on illegal loggers

  • 26/02/2016

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen has called for a bigger effort to curb the illicit timber trade, saying he has ordered military police to fire rockets from helicopters if they see illegal loggers at work.

He created a task force in January led by National Military Police Commander Sao Sokha to raid timber warehouses and tackle the deforestation that is fuelling a multimillion-dollar illegal trade.

"I already gave two helicopters for raids and Sao Sokha has not fired a single rocket yet," the prime minister said in a televised speech.

"I order that rockets be fired from above."

An investigation last year by environment group Global Witness said Chinese demand for luxury rosewood furniture was fuelling a black-market trade in illegal logs across Cambodia.

It alleged loggers were working in cahoots with government officials, military and police to get logs on to boats bound for Hong Kong.

Hun Sen, who was speaking at the inauguration of a new environment ministry building, said he had suspected that too.

"Where have all your eyes gone?" he asked. "The eyes of the police, the military police ... or are they involved?"