Siem Reap provincial court yesterday charged three people with the collection and transport of banned luxury hardwoods without licenses from the provincial Forestry Department, officials said.
Tea Kimsoth, chief of the department, said the three suspects were arrested on Monday at around 7:30am after they were discovered in Or-Akok village, in Svay Leu district’s Kantuot commune, driving a minibus filled with luxury timber stored in sacks.
Police, officers from the forest department, and court officials found a total of 58 pieces of wood, totalling 5.15 cubic metres. Both the car and wood were confiscated and are being held at the Forestry Department office as evidence.
Nhim Sila, deputy chief of the Siem Reap military police, said the transport of banned hardwoods continued to be a “major concern” in Siem Reap.
“Our authorities are working hard to prevent this and hope to better protect our forests from exploitation,” he said.
Suos Ra, 26, from Kampong Cham, Phoan Socheath, 32, from Siem Reap, and Dy Toun, 32, from Banteay Meanchey, were charged yesterday with luxury wood collection and the illegal transport of banned timber.
Court Prosecutor Ty Soveinthal said the three are currently being detained at the provincial prison in Siem Reap pending further investigations.
If found guilty under Articles 96 and 98 of Cambodia’s Law on Forestry, the three could be sentenced to up to five years in prison and fined between 10 million (US$2,475) and 100 million riel each.