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Restaurant owner, middle, is arrested and escorted by officials for allegedly hiding illegal timber in her U-I 666 restaurant and further restraining authorities from inspection on Wednesday in Kratie province. Photo supplied
Restaurant owner, middle, is arrested and escorted by officials for allegedly hiding illegal timber in her U-I 666 restaurant and further restraining authorities from inspection on Wednesday in Kratie province. Photo supplied

Restaurateur cuffed in timber raid

Two separate raids on illegal timber stashes resulted in the confiscation of large amounts of luxury timber on Wednesday.

Khy Sokha, an official with the Ratanakkiri military police, said yesterday that authorities are looking for the owner of roughly 400 pieces of first-grade timber uncovered at a cashew plantation on Wednesday morning.

“We have looked for the owner of the plantation and the owner of the wood, but we have not found them yet. The wood might have been hidden there for a long time,” Sokha said.

In a separate case in Kratie, female restaurant owner Yu E, 32, was handcuffed for an hour after interfering with authorities’ search at her restaurant. Kratie town police chief Net Lin said there had been multiple past instances of timber trucks driving towards E’s restaurant and a neighbouring restaurant along National Road 7. However, the owners always refused authorities’ requests for a search.

“On Wednesday, the experts chased the truck carrying illegal timber, but [it] disappeared immediately when it reached the intersection,” Lin said, noting that the road on which the restaurants are located was a dead-end. “Yu E obstructed [the search] and insulted the authorities.”

According to the prosecutor, illegal timber was found in both restaurants during the operation, and authorities seized about 10 cubic metres of first-grade timber. He added that Yu E was not arrested as the timber did not belong to her.

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