Check out this drone footage of sand mining barges inside the Peam krosaob Wildlife Sanctuary), shot by our own activists in
SAND MINING SCAM
The Cambodian government is infamous across the world not just for its persecution of political and civil rights leaders, but also for relentlessly selling the country's natural resources to the highest bidders. In total violation to the country's constitution, relevant laws, and international treaties, it has for the last 20 years unashamedly allowed criminal-like syndicates to over-exploit its forests, rivers, estuaries, lakes, seas, etc, with the ultimate aim of fabulously enriching a tiny elite. The state gets next to nothing in revenue, local communities are left off far worse than before these so-called 'development projects' started, and needless to say Cambodia's environment continues to suffer massively.
The mining of sand from coastal Koh Kong is by no means different. Corrupt government officials and their crooked business partners have used the power of the state (relevant ministries, taxation department, law enforcement agencies, the courts and law enforcement agencies, etc) to provide a veneer of legality to the sand mining, to coordinate the mining operations, and to fence off any attempts to expose the sector's blatant illegality and huge social, environmental and economic impacts . The Cambodian government falsely claims that Koh Kong's coastal estuaries naturally carry 'too much sand', and as such need dredging and deepening so that they can be 'more navigable for local boats', and to reduce riverbank erosion and floods in the area. In short, it paints the mining as not just needed but also beneficial to the local fishing communities.
In the last few months, our group has started exposing the massive corruption and tax evasion the sand mining and export has been mired in since the first mining operations started in 2008. Official government documents on import & export show that the vast majority of the sand that left from Cambodia to countries like Singapore went 'missing' from the Cambodian government data. It might have magically disappeared from Cambodian data on exports, but it still appears on Singapore's own data on imports of Cambodian sand. How could the Cambodian government be reporting less than 3 million tons of sand exported to Singapore over the 2008 to 2016 period when Singapore is reporting over 70 million tons of sand being imported into the city-state from Cambodia, over the same period of time?
The explanations given by the Cambodian government on how such a massive gap in trade data could have occurred have been, since the story first broke out in September of 2016, nothing short of lies and deceit. The effective exposure through mainstream and social media of this 'loss' of such a huge amount of sand, worth up to US$700 million in Singapore's market value, has forced both governments to postpone the trade, giving respite to the local fishing communities whose livelihoods had been decimated by the mining of coastal sand.
Mother Nature Cambodia Inc.
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What's the environmental impact of Cambodia's sand mining?
Al Jazeera / 20 December, 2016
A FEW FACTS ON THE SAND SCAM
(click on the arrows on the right / left)
A MNC activist is buried neck-deep in sand and asks the cambodian govenrmnet a very simple question: Why are 70 million tons of sand exported to Singapore gone missing from official government export figures?