A district forestry administration official in Kratie province was reassigned to another district yesterday after video of him surfaced extorting money from villagers transporting wood.
The video, posted on the Fresh News website, showed Chhlaung district forestry administration official Khoun Chivin demanding money from villagers transporting wood in exchange for not confiscating their haul.
“Now, I take $10 per truck and the other smaller car is 15,000 riel ($3.75),” Mr Chivin said in the video, apparently taken by one of the loggers.
“I just take this amount for today because I work today and I used a lot of petrol. If you don’t give me the money, the only choice is to confiscate the wood.
“In case the of confiscation, you will spend 2 or 3 million riel ($480 to $730) just to take back your truck.”
The transporters respond: “Why brother? It is just a few farm woods” before adding that previous officials named Ny and Eang extorted less money than him.
In a directive issued yesterday, the provincial department of agriculture transferred Mr Chivin from Chhlaung district to Kratie town.
“The chief of Kratie provincial department of agriculture, forestry and fishery decides to transfer and modify the duties of Mr Khoun Chivin from being a Chhlaung forestry administration official to work as the Kratie forestry administration official,” department chief Kuy Hout said in the letter.
Contacted by phone, Mr Hout said that the wrongdoing committed by Mr Chivin deserved administrative punishment and education.
“It is the administrative rule,” he said. “If anyone does anything wrong, we have to change their role and educate them.”
On the letter, there was also a stamp from the provincial prosecutor’s office, and information noted that the letter may be used in a court case against Mr Chivin.
When asked if further action would be taken, Mr Hout said: “We are investigating and are not done yet.”