Authorities in Battambang’s Samlot district on Monday confiscated over 100 logs of rosewood and luxury timber suspected to have come from an illegal logging operation in Thailand.
Acting on a tip, 16 police, court and environmental officials discovered 76 logs of rosewood and 39 logs of neang nuon and thnong weighing more than 1 tonne at an abandoned home in Ta Tork commune’s Samkos Wildlife Sanctuary, according to a police report.
Provincial Environmental Department Director Chuob Sarun said that the authorities did not find the timber owners when they arrived on the scene, but did seize the timber and two trucks. “[Officials] asked residents living near the home, but no one knew who owned the timber,” Sarun said.
Sim Yun, Ta Tork’s deputy commune chief, said the timber was logged in Thailand and transported across the border by Cambodian villagers, but was unable to identify any specific people involved in the logging.
After years of intensive logging, rosewood has become increasingly rare in Cambodia, “so some poor villagers took the risk crossing the border to log and transport it from Thailand”, Yun said.
Even after education efforts, the practice persists despite some having been shot or jailed in Thailand, Yun added.