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Small fries hauled in for smuggling timber

Two men and two teenagers were arrested on Friday and sent to court yesterday for attempting to smuggle more than one cubic metre of luxury timber in Stung Treng, a forestry administrator said.

Su Phet, Thala Barivat district forestry administration director, told the Post yesterday that his unit worked in conjunction with the local military police to arrest the four, who hauled the timber on three homemade tractors.

“They were transporting one-and-a-half cubic metres of luxury timber, and they have told us that they were hired by another person who offered to pay them $200 for each cubic metre they transported,” he said.

The four suspects, who all reside in Thala Barivat’s Anlong Phe commune, are Thong Kong, 31, Vorn Noeurn, 20, Prim Buncheut, 15, and Thei Sobin, 14.

Ho Sam Ol, a coordinator at rights group Adhoc in Stung Treng, said logging continued unabated in the area because police went after only those at the bottom of the chain, rather than the real culprits.

“Generally, the authorities arrest only the employees, while the middle-men or timber owners are rarely arrested,” he said.

“We believe that the authorities know who these men are who are responsible for the timber crime, but they do not investigate them or look for them.”

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