Phnom Penh (FN), Jun. 6 – Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen ordered the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, especially local authorities to cooperate in cracking down on deforestation, encroachment on state land or land grabbing seriously and effectively.

The premier spoke on Tuesday morning (June 6) at an inauguration of new buildings of the Royal Academy for Justice of Cambodia in Phnom Penh.

As the election approaches, there will always be acts of deforestation, encroachment on state land and land grabbing, the premier added. However, for this mandate, natural resources and social order must be protected by all means.

Premier Hun Sen said, "last night, Pursat provincial governor reported to me that there is currently rampant illegal logging in the province. Some provinces have also sent the same information and those illegal loggers threatened to film and release the video during the election campaign if the crackdown operation is taken against them.”

Some rich and powerful people also participated in these forestry crimes, said the premier.

In response to this problem, Samdech issued strict orders to the provincial governor and the local authorities to cooperate to prevent those crimes effectively.

Samdech strongly urged those involved in these crimes to immediately stop their activities. If caught, they will be punished according to the law.

“Protecting natural resources and maintaining social order is more important than worrying about the crooks in order to get their votes. The Royal Government of Cambodia and the Cambodian People's Party do not need votes from these people who committed forestry crimes," the premier insisted.

On that occasion, the premier underscored that the Royal Government has an obligation to protect the order and the natural resources, and he urged human rights defenders and other activists to rather look at the whole forest than a single tree.