A petrol tanker truck was found with more than 2,000 pieces of luxury rosewood stashed inside its tank when it was intercepted by authorities in Phnom Penh last week, National Military Police spokesman Eng Hy said yesterday.
“The Military Police forces halted a truck carrying timber on July 7,” Hy said. “On July 8, experts and the Forestry Administration were alerted to this for further checks.”
The driver, Chan Dan, 22, and his assistant, Bun Nub, 31, claimed that they were hired by an acquaintance to drive the truck from Kampong Cham province to Phnom Penh for a payment of 100,000 riel (about $25) and were unaware that it was loaded with timber, the Phnom Penh Municipal Military Police said in a Facebook post Sunday. The vehicle was carrying 2,315 pieces of rosewood weighing 2.41 tonnes, it said.
A municipal military police officer, who spoke about the case on condition of anonymity, said investigations started after locals had alerted to them to a “suspicious truck”, which was then intercepted on National Road 5 in Prek Pnov district.
“The suspects are detained at Phnom Penh Municipal Military Police Base and other evidence is impounded at Chamkarmon district Forestry Administration,” the officer said. “This case has reached the court already.”
In a separate case, 40 cubic metres of luxury timber hidden in a river were found by authorities in Kratie province’s Sambor district on Sunday, according to district Military Police Commander Sum Sokunthea.
He said the timber was likely hidden by traders who intended to smuggle it to Vietnam.
“After taking [the timber] out from the water, the military police forces handed it to O’Krieng Forestry Administration experts to keep temporarily and to prepare the case.”