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Court gives prominent timber trader two years

Court gives prominent timber trader two years

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday handed a two-year sentence to 58-year-old Heng Samrieng, a prominent timber trader from Stung Treng province who was convicted on charges related to logging, theft and confronting officials.

At a hearing yesterday, Judge Pich Vicheathor cited Article 98 of the Forestry Law, which concerns harvesting forest products, and articles 361 and 503 of the Cambodian Criminal Code, which refer to attempted theft and obstruction of a public official.

Vicheathor also ordered Samrieng to pay a $12,250 fine, and noted that 1,301 pieces of timber and a van seized in the case would become state property.

Samrieng was arrested in October last year when she and seven accomplices entered the O Pong Moan Forestry Administration compound in Siem Bok district in the early hours of the morning and attempted to retrieve wood seized by authorities.

During the trial, she denied the charges, but admitted negotiating with a Military Police officer about obtaining the wood, claiming she was representing a Vietnam-based trader.

Samrieng did not come to the verdict announcement yesterday, an absence that was not explained by the judge or her defence lawyer, Pov Piseth.

Reached by phone yesterday, Piseth declined to comment, only to say it was up to his client if she wanted to appeal.

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