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Loggers questioned by court

Stung Treng Provincial Court yesterday questioned six men apprehended while allegedly transporting more than 17 cubic metres of illegal Thnong timber by boat in Sesan district, said Y Ek Savtey, director of the provincial forestry administration.

Hou Sam Ol, a provincial coordinator with rights group Adhoc, said the men were arrested on Friday night in a joint operation between forestry administration officials and military police, and that while the men were not the luxury wood’s owners, “by law, they colluded to smuggle the timber”.

The timber seized on Friday came from a forest in Sesan district, Sam Ol added.

Touch Thear, the provincial director of the agriculture department, speculated that the timber could have come from the Prey Khieu forest, which covers tens of thousands of hectares in Stung Treng, Mondulkiri and Ratanakkiri provinces and contains a large number of economic land concessions.

Provincial prosecutor Chreung Khmao could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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