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Two men arrested over 900kg rosewood haul

Two men were arrested while allegedly transporting nearly 900kg of concealed rosewood in Kampong Chhnang province’s Bra Snoeb commune on Sunday, authorities said yesterday.  

Anti-economic crime police had seized 195 pieces of rosewood, totalling about three quarters of a cubic metre in volume, which the two men had concealed under rice bags in their car, said Kampong Chhnang provincial court prosecutor Penh Vibol, who had ordered police to stop the car.

“We suspect they were transporting it abroad,” he said. “But the suspects have not yet admitted who paid them to transport it. We are investigating to find [the wood’s] owner.”  Meanwhile, authorities were further questioning the driver, Nhem Vanden, 22, and his assistant, Hou Bunrith, 26, in preparation to send them to court, said Sin Kosal, director of the provincial Forestry Administration.

“They [tried to] deceive the authorities by putting rice bags on top of the rosewood,” he said.

The incident was not the first time this year authorities had stopped a car with hidden rosewood, Vibol said.

In March, authorities in Siem Reap province seized nearly eight cubic metres of rosewood worth an estimated $50,000 that had been concealed under bags of cement.

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