Provincial authorities seized an SUV in Siem Reap province loaded with 131 logs of rosewood suspected to have been illegally logged in Thailand, officials said yesterday.
According to Soeun Sen, Siem Reap's provincial anti-economic crimes police chief, the Lexus carrying the 415 kilograms of wood was intercepted on Wednesday on National Road 68 in Siem Reap’s Puok district. “The Lexus was from Oddar Meanchey,” Sen said, adding the driver and a passenger “managed to flee”.
The car had no licence plate and nothing found in the vehicle was traceable to the suspects, he continued, adding that because there are “no more rosewood [trees] in our country, it’s assumed that the rosewood was logged from Thailand”.
The provincial Forestry Administration office will submit the case to court.
Meanwhile, police in Tbong Khmum’s Por Nheakrek district on Wednesday completed their investigation into 17 tonnes of rosewood found in a warehouse linked to Trapaing Phlong commune chief Hem Yieb, said the provincial prosecutor’s assistant Chan Dara. The court had received the case but no charges had been issued, said Dara.
Yieb could not be reached for comment yesterday. He previously denied allegations, claiming the wood was on his daughter’s property, not his.
Por Nheakrek district governor Long Theam, who questioned Yieb Sunday, said “the case involves his son-in-law”, adding that the rosewood did not belong to Yieb.