Posted on 9 October 2009
The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 633
(Post by CAAI News Media)
“Pailin: Valuable gem ore in Pailin is facing depletion at present, because wicked merchants are using machinery to aggressively extract large amounts of gems, while expert officials said that they did not know anything, but now they will take action.
“According to officials of the province, merchants deploy machinery to extract gems at two sites at the Phnom Teuk Chenh region in Teuk Chenh village, Stung Kach commune, Sala Krao district, Pailin. According to that source, there are two groups of merchants who use gem sieving machinery to extract large amounts of gems in that region. The Stung Kach commune chief, Mr. Kang Chheng, told Koh Santepheap via telephone in the morning of 7 October 2009 that he did not know that merchants are extracting large amounts of gem in an area under his control by using such machinery. This commune chief said that he is at present busy with checking the election voter name lists. Therefore, he has not gone to check the sites where merchants are extracting gems.
“But an official, who asked not to be named, said that the two groups of merchants have been running their operations for many years, and they always move to every place in Pailin to explore and extract gems. But they set up also permanent sites at the Phnom Teuk Chenh region since January 2009. Among the two merchant groups, one is controlled by Sreng Kong Sri, and this man lets Dy, called Ta Sak Sar, lead the group, but who is controlling the other group is not known. The same source said that the authorities should not say that they knew nothing about the use of the machineries and the merchants who actively explore gem, because they have operated for many years, and if there were no permissions from the authorities or from expert officials, how could those merchants have done so?
“Regarding the above issue, the head of the Department of Industry, Mines, and Energy of the Province, Mr. Ea Hoeun, told Koh Santepheap in the morning of 7 October 2009 that before, he had known that there were really merchants who extract gems, adding ‘But we summoned and told them to stop their operations, and to remove all machineries a few days ago already.’ Anyway, according to citizens living in the Phnom Teuk Chenh region, in the morning of 7 October 2009, all machinery was not yet removed, but it was just seen that the operations were suspended, simply because those merchants had been informed to remain quiet temporarily to see the situation. It is believed that the operations will start again after there is green light from expert officials.
“It should be noted that many types of gem ore in Pailin, especially in the town, were almost totally exhausted by Siamese [Thai] merchants during the wartime in Cambodia. However, Mr. Ea Hoeun claimed that there still might be 50% of valuable gems remaining, except in the area of the town itself, where there is little left.
“In the morning of 7 October 2009, Koh Santepheap could not reach the two groups of merchants for comment via telephone. Commune officials said that they had all switched off their phones.”
Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6773, 8.10.2009
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 8 October 2009