Press Release / March 4, 1998

Vietnamese Government attempts to cover up collusion with Cambodia over illegal timber trade - Global Witness releases the evidence

Global Witness, the British based human rights and environment organisation, today issued detailed evidence proving collusion between the political leaders of Cambodia and Vietnam over a massive illegal trade in Cambodian logs, worth at conservative estimates, US$ 130 million. The evidence includes documents issued by both governments, photographs, film, and secretly filmed interviews.

“The evidence, quite simply, is categorical, it includes locations of log stockpiles, authentication of country of source and the official documents - one of which refers to the Vietnamese timber parastatal, Vinafor, needing to import a minimum of 100,000m3 of logs” said Patrick Alley of Global Witness, “the Vietnamese Government should take action to close the borders, and respect the Cambodian export ban, as it claims to be doing, rather than misleading the international community.”

The Vietnamese are gearing up for further imports of Cambodian logs, worth US$ 73-216 million, during March. “We urge the Vietnamese Government and the international community to take immediate action to prevent these exports which are imminent.” Alley said.