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Accused rosewood smugglers avoid court

A car full of illegal rosewood seized in Kampong Thom province yesterday. Photo supplied
A car full of illegal rosewood seized in Kampong Thom province yesterday. Photo supplied

Accused rosewood smugglers avoid court

The case against two men accused of illegally transporting more than 200 kilograms of endangered rosewood appears to have been quietly dropped with court officials in Kampong Thom maintaining police had not forwarded them the case.

Suspects Chhin Thea, 21, and Phlong Hean, 36, were arrested in Kampong Cham province on Sunday allegedly in possession of 270 kilos of the rare timber.

Soth Mary, Kampong Thma Forestry Administration chief, yesterday said that both were sent to the provincial court on Monday, adding “please ask court; I do not know whether they were released or not”.

However, court administrative chief Vann Seng said “no such case was sent to the court, or . . . any timber case”. Court spokesman Say Nora corroborated Seng’s account.

Prosecutor Ith Sothea declined to comment yesterday, but on Monday had seemingly downplayed the offence, saying it was only a small amount of rosewood. Khorn Sokal, the court director, declined to comment.

Transporting endangered rosewood is punishable with a jail sentence.

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