Seven illegal loggers out of a group of more than 20 were caught with illegal timber and arrested in Oral district in Kampong Speu on Tuesday afternoon.
Authorities intercepted seven tractors with seven loggers while they were carrying timber through Srekin village in Trapaing Chor commune.
“The timber owners escaped, leaving seven workers to guard the vehicles. We saw and arrested them,” said Nov Nak, the deputy chief of the provincial environment department.
The timber came from 49 large trees. The workers and vehicles were released after one night of detention when the workers agreed to sign contracts promising not to commit the crime again.
Chea Hean, the director of the Natural Resource and Wildlife Preservation Organization, who had called in the tip for the crackdown, said he found many vehicles hauling timber in the area and paying off military and environmental officials in Srekin village for between 15,000 and 70,000 riel (about $3.75 to $17.50) per vehicle.
Nak denied that his employees take bribes, but allowed they were inattentive due to the upcoming holiday.