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Midnight arrests: Ethnic Jarai men accused of smuggling luxury wood

Two sets of brothers are accused of using motorbikes to illegally transport luxury timber after being arrested early on Wednesday morning, police said.

Sok Darin, an Andong Meas district police officer, said the four men – Jarai ethnic nationals – were detained shortly after midnight as they tried to transport luxury wood out of Andong Meas district’s Nhang commune, in Ratanakkiri province.

Romcham Houn, 22, his brother Romcham Houth, 15, and siblings Sorl Then, 25, and Sorl Pol, 19, were sent to the Ratanakkiri Provincial Court yesterday for charges over the smuggling of luxury wood, Sok Darin told the Post.

“They were arrested by our mixed competent authorities while they were driving motorbikes and carrying the luxury wood from Nhang commune towards Vietnam,” he said.

“They are accused of transporting the luxury wood without authorisation from the provincial forestry administration.”

After the men were arrested, authorities confiscated the timber and four motorbikes they were using to transport it, Sok Darin said.

Leav Sreng, Ratanakkiri Provincial Court prosecutor, and Vong Sok Serey, chief of the Provincial Forestry Administration, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Logging of luxury timber is illegal under Cambodian law; however, despite increased government efforts to crack down on such activities in recent years, illegal logging has increased across the country as smugglers have transported luxury timber from one province to another and into neighbouring countries.

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