Forestry administration (FA) officials yesterday raided and shut down five unlicensed furniture workshops in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district, seizing about 20 cubic metres of luxury wood worth about $20,000.
Nhem Dararith, head of Kandal FA, which oversees Phnom Penh and Kandal province, said the manufacturers, based in Boeung Trabek, were busted under Article 96 of the Forestry Law for stocking illegal forestry products and Article 99, related to processing wood without a licence.
Under the first law, the owners could face fines of up to two or three times the value of the illegal wood they possess, while the second carries a prison term of between one month and one year, he said.
“The five shops are not licensed and they brought illegal luxury wood so we shut them down,” Dararith said. “We have warned them a few times that if they didn’t stop operating, they faced being shut down.”
Dararith said while the owners weren’t detained, their cases had been sent to court.
He added that Boeung Trabek commune hosted some 20 licensed furniture producers, but those raided yesterday were denied a licence because they were considered squatters.
Bou Sambon, chief of Prampi village in Boeung Trabek, said although the workshops were owned and run by Vietnamese, the search was not related to an ongoing crackdown on illegal immigrants.