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Authorities on hunt for illegal timber suspect

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Confiscated luxurious timber in Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary. NOKORWAT NEWS

Authorities on hunt for illegal timber suspect

Authorities are on the hunt for a man who escaped custody on Tuesday after being arrested for allegedly transporting luxurious timber in Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary.

The suspect was detained by environmental rangers at the Keo Seima Wildlife sanctuary headquarters on Monday but ran off into the forest the following day, Provincial Environment Department director Keo Sopheak said.

“Before he entered our custody, the suspect poured gasoline on himself and all the evidence to prevent being arrested. However, his wife persuaded him to turn himself in and resolve the issue according to the law,” said Sopheak.

He had been caught red-handed with 20 logs of the beng wood variety in a Toyota Camry which was used to transport the timber, said Sre Khtum commune police chief Pheng Savoun.

Environmental rangers attempted to arrest the 33-year-old man once more, Savoun said, but could not catch up with him. Since then, the man is believed to have fled Keo Seima district.

Authorities do not believe he would run too far from the area since he also lived in the district.

As of Wednesday afternoon, he’s still at large. This merited criticism of the “careless” rangers from environmental activist Heng Sros.

“I don’t know how many environmental rangers [were involved], who questioned the suspect and what they did, but the loss of the suspect shows that they are careless,” Sros said.

Sros suggested the suspect’s threat to set himself on fire was a trick to avoid being arrested.

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