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Questions over wood cache

The deputy RCAF commander of Kampot province was questioned by the provincial court yesterday, after police found he had allegedly used his position to seize illegal timber and keep it for himself, rather than handing it over to the proper authorities, a court prosecutor said.

Deputy Kampot provincial court prosecutor Khan Sophal, who led a joint raid on the home of deputy military chief Tith Kim Seng on Wednesday, said yesterday that authorities found 26 pieces of timber in the official’s home, totalling about two-thirds of a cubic metre.

Choun Sara, deputy chief of the provincial forestry administration, said that Kim Seng had intercepted the wood in transit.

“We found the wood, which he seized from villagers illegally transporting it, without handing it over to experts from the administration,” he said.

During questioning, Kim Seng told the deputy prosecutor and Forestry Administration officials that on November 30, he found villagers transporting the timber by boat on the Kamchay dam reservoir. He maintained that he had attempted to report the seizure to the Environmental Department, but the official was busy, so he decided to keep the wood at his house.

“Anyway, we are questioning him as to why he kept the seized wood in his house without reporting it to the expert official, and as to what his purpose is,” Sophal, the prosecutor, said.

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