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Illegal wood hidden in petrol truck

Two men operating a petrol truck plastered with Kampuchea Tela Co Ltd logos were detained in Pursat province on Tuesday after authorities discovered a cache of rosewood logs concealed inside the vehicle.

Krakor district police stopped the vehicle, en route to Phnom Penh, and detained the 29-year-old driver, Ry Sophak, and his assistant Sok Heng, 30, district police chief Bin Vanna said.

“They claim they are not the owners of the rosewood but were just employed to transport it from Oddar Meanchey to Phnom Penh,” Vanna said yesterday, adding that more than 10 cubic metres of wood was hidden within the waylaid truck.

An employee of Kampuchea Tela, who declined to give her name, claimed no knowledge of the incident yesterday before hanging up and saying the truck was not owned by the company.

The company’s logos on the petrol truck were simply part of a ruse to covertly transport the illegal wood, the police chief said.

“It’s a fake Kampuchea Tela truck. They decorated it with Kampuchea Tela [logos] so we would think it contains gasoline,” he said.

Both suspects hail from Kampong Cham’s Tbong Khmum district and are being detained. The truck and confiscated wood are being kept at the provincial forestry administration building, Vanna added.

Ton Sikah Tecas, a provincial prosecutor, confirmed that both men would be sent to court today.

He added that the exact amount of wood seized would be known soon as the haul was still being weighed.

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