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Stockpiles of timber inspected in Siem Reap

Siem Reap Province
OFFICIALS in Siem Reap province said they inspected warehouses belonging to several high-ranking officials and prominent businessmen on Wednesday and Thursday as part of an effort to crack down on the illegal timber trade.

Nhim Seila, deputy commander of the military police in Siem Reap, said officials had inspected warehouses belonging to Cambodian People’s Party Senator Lao Meng Khin and tycoon Sok Kung, among others.

He said both warehouses had stocked “old wood”, but that officials had not yet determined whether any of it had been illegally procured.

“According to evidence, this wood was kept for a long time,” he said, adding that Sok Kung had “a licence for his wood for making furniture” for the Sokha Hotel Group.

He said the inspection orders had come from Siem Reap provincial prosecutor Ty Soveinthal, who said that the owners of all inspected warehouses would be required to show licences.

“If they do not have this, we will seize the wood for the good of the state,” Ty Soveinthal said.

Chheang Tola, the director of the Forestry Administration in the province, said he could not confirm how much timber had been tallied during the recent inspections, but he said that several of the warehouses had been “very big”.

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