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Stung Treng Military Police officials seized more than two tonnes of rosewood and arrested a driver (second right) en route to Ratanakkiri province from Preah Vihear province on Sunday. Photo supplied

Logging arrest in Stung Treng

A man was accused of illegally collecting and transporting timber after Military Police officials arrested him with over 2 tonnes of illicit rosewood in Stung Treng on Sunday morning.

Orn Chansocheat, a Stung Treng provincial forestry official, said the suspect Om Chanthorn, 36, was arrested at the Ou’korki Bridge in Sesan district at 1:30am.

Chansocheat said Chanthorn was hauling the illegal rosewood along National Road 78 to sell to a Vietnamese timber trader at a border passage in Ratanakkiri province. Chansocheat identified the Vietnamese trader as “Ya Dong”.

Despite the fact that Cambodian authorities have banned timber exportation to Vietnam, and additionally created a much-publicised anti-logging task force to clamp down on the trade, recent data from Vietnamese customs show that nearly $33 million worth of unprocessed logs entered Vietnam from Cambodia in 2016.

Chansocheat said Chanthorn was driving a Toyota Highlander with 295 pieces of rosewood, weighing in at 2,140 kilograms. Chanthorn was allegedly transporting the wood from Preah Vihear.

“After the interrogation, the suspect was [preliminarily] charged with collecting and hauling the illegal rosewood and he will be sent to the court on Tuesday morning for further procedures,” Chansocheat explained.

He added that the rosewood and car were both being temporarily impounded at the Stung Treng Provincial Forestry Administration office.

Siv Samet, director of the criminal investigations office at Stung Treng Provincial Military Police, said yesterday that rosewood confiscated in Stung Treng is often on its way to Vietnam from Oddar Meanchey and Preah Vihear provinces.

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