Kampot authorities are looking for the driver of a timber truck who fled the scene after a bridge collapsed under the weight of his overloaded vehicle yesterday in Chhouk district’s Taken commune.
Khan Sophal, spokesman for the provincial prosecutor’s office, said that the case was still under investigation.
“We have the truck plate number, and the phone number. This is a red-handed crime . . . The first offence is overloading [the truck], then destroying natural resources, and then [destroying] public property,” he said. “In the past, we had a similar case and he could not get away with it.”
In a previous case in the same commune, a soldier was charged with the destruction of a bridge after it collapsed under the weight of his overloaded truck in June, though he was not charged for the transportation of illegal timber.
It was unclear though whether he was ever punished, as he was implicated months later in a separate timber bust and believed to have fled to Thailand.
Chinh Kuong, director of public transportation in Kampot, said that a working group was removing the wood to repair the bridge. “This bridge [can only carry] between 10 to 15 tonnes because it is old,” he said, though it remained unclear yesterday how much the truck and its cargo weighed.
Reached yesterday, Ministry of Environment spokesman Sao Sopheap would only repeat the oft-stated claim that large-scale logging had been eradicated.