On November 2016, the Cambodian government posted an official demand for explanation from the Singapore government after gathering evidence founding that Singapore made falseful declarations of illegally-sourced sand for years. However, the Singapore government has yet to give an explanation and responded to the multiple requests for comment.
The director of environmental group Mother Nature and the Cambodian government has secured evidence of Singapore’s crimes:
“They need to respond to the accusations by Cambodia’s Ministry of Mines and Energy that Singapore has been, for years, importing massive amounts of illegally sourced sand and falsely reporting them as having come from Cambodia.”
Singapore recorded importing more than 73.6 million tons of sand from Cambodia between 2007 and last year, compared to less than 2.8 million tons Cambodia said it sent there, according to figures both countries sent to the U.N. Commodity Trade Statistics Database (Comtrade). The falseful declaration by the Singapore government is more than 26 times the figures provided by Cambodia.
Sand has become an expensive commodity in recent years as governments around the world stopped the collection due to its harmful impact on the environment, destroying ecosystems and fishing grounds. According to the Cambodia Ministry of Mines and Energy spokesman:
“Smugglers could be flying under the Cambodian flag to get around sand export bans in Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia.”
According to a report by United Nations, Singapore has increased land mass by 20%, or 130 sq km, over the past 40 years. According to state media Straits Times, Singapore will increase another 56 sq km of land by 2030.