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Illicit wood seized despite opposition

Nearly 20 cubic metres of timber were seized by local authorities in Stung Treng’s Thala Barivat district yesterday, despite alleged interference by a military police officer from Preah Vihear province, police said.

Deputy district police chief Iv Loeur said that local authorities were notified that first-grade timber – a prized material in home construction – had been illegally logged in the area and was being stored behind the home of a local resident.

“There was a lot of illegal material,” said Loeur.

However, he continued, when local authorities, forestry administration officers and local journalists arrived at the scene, a military police officer from Preah Vihear’s Cheb district intervened on behalf of the homeowner and attempted to smash the reporters’ cameras to conceal the identity of the suspect. Loeur said he did not know the officer.

Local media reported, however, that he could be a part-owner of the timber.

Chheang Tola, provincial forestry administration chief, said the case remains under investigation.

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