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Illegal luxury timber sits at a storage warehouse over the weekend in Ratanakkiri’s Banlung town after authorities searched the property and confiscated two vehicles.
Illegal luxury timber sits at a storage warehouse over the weekend in Ratanakkiri’s Banlung town after authorities searched the property and confiscated two vehicles. ADHOC

Illegal timber seized in R’kiri

Authorities in Ratanakkiri’s Banlung town cracked down on a luxury timber storage facility over the weekend, confiscating two trucks and hundreds of pieces of illegal timber, a court official said yesterday.

“It is an illegal timber storage house, but not a timber processing place,” said Mom Vanda, the provincial deputy prosecutor who led the crackdown.

“We did not see any equipments to make furniture, so no one can be arrested under the law,”

The precise identity of the owner of the site was still unknown as of yesterday, and officials are calling on him to present himself and face fines, Vanda added.

“We just know that the homeowner is a Vietnamese guy who speaks Khmer fluently and has lived in the province for a long time,” he said.

The timber, some unfinished furniture and the two vehicles have been taken to the provincial Forestry Administration office, but the exact amount of timber is still being determined.

“It is hundreds of logs, but we do not know yet how many,” Vanda said.

“Some are small, so they’re difficult to measure.”

Vong Sokserey, director of the provincial Forestry Administration, said the timber included beng, neang nuon and thnong, among other species.

Chhay Thy, provincial coordinator for the rights group Adhoc, said the owner of the site was known as Be, adding that the facility had indeed been used to process the timber.

“We are told than more than 10 Vietnamese people were sent to make furniture there,” he said.

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