Chut Wutty: Anti-logging campaigner


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The Independent Online

Chut Wutty, who was shot dead on 25 April, was a prominent Cambodian anti-logging activist who helped expose a secretive state sell-off of national parks. Wutty, director of the Phnom Penh-based environmental watchdogNatural Resource Protection Group, died after a military policeman opened fire near a hydroelectric dam being built by the Chinese in Koh Kong.

Wutty had been taking photographs in a forest near the dam, according to a military police spokesman, and refused to stop when an officer asked him to and refused to hand over a memory card. The two men began arguing and cursing eachother until the officer shot Wutty with his assault rifle. Learning that he was dead, the officer then killed himself, the spokesman said.

Wutty, who was born in 1972 and leaves a wife and two children, had a reputation for speaking out against logging and corruption by government and big business. He had campaigned against the government's granting of so-called economic land concessions to scores of companies to develop land in national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. He was particularly critical of Cambodia's military police, who are often deployed to protect private business interests.

Two journalists, a Cambodian and a Canadian, who were being shown round the area by Wutty, were arrested following the shooting, but were later released.