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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Court plans to probe Mondulkiri logging claims

Officials seize a truck carrying illegal timber last month in Mondulkiri province. Photo supplied
Officials seize a truck carrying illegal timber last month in Mondulkiri province. Photo supplied

Court plans to probe Mondulkiri logging claims

The Mondulkiri Provincial Court is preparing to investigate accusations that Cambodian border officials last month knowingly allowed seven Vietnamese loggers to illegally fell trees in the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary, a court official said yesterday.

So Sovithiea, provincial deputy prosecutor, yesterday told The Post that the court will begin their probe as soon as the national military police have filed their report.

“The military police have not finished their investigation yet. We are waiting for the report from them to be the foundation of our own,” Sovithiea said.

The seven men were arrested on February 23 when military police forces intercepted and confiscated eight trucks loaded with about 200 cubic metres of illegal timber in the Keo Seima protected area near the Vietnamese border.

Multiple villagers living near the Keo Seima sanctuary told local media in the wake of the arrests that officials and border police were involved in the illegal timber racket.

According to Sovithiea, the loggers were charged by the court with illegal border crossing, illegal logging and illegal timber transportation, then sent to pre-trial detention in Mondulkiri Provincial Prison.

Eng Hy, military police spokesman, said the anti-logging task force spearheaded by the military police – created by Hun Sen last January to curb illegal logging – had launched its initial investigation, but was “not finished yet”.

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