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Forestry official accused of impeding ranger bust

Officials inspect and seize illegally logged timber after a bust last week in Kampong Thom province.
Officials inspect and seize illegally logged timber after a bust last week in Kampong Thom province. Photo supplied

Forestry official accused of impeding ranger bust

A Sandan District Forestry Administration official is suspected of trying to obstruct Kampong Thom provincial environmental rangers from attempting to catch two vehicles illegally transporting timber on Friday.

Sean Kemsorn, district head of the Environment Ministry rangers, said he was patrolling in Sochet commune when his team began chasing two cars that appeared to be carrying illegal timber, finally stopping them at Mean Rith commune.

There, Forestry Administration official Ieng Sokha “distracted our special operations force when our authority checked the car”, Kemsorn said.

According to Kemsorn, Sokha told the rangers it was not necessary to check the car and that the haulers were probably carrying normal timber.

Upon checking, rangers found two cubic metres of second-grade sokrom timber in the car, with no paperwork authorising them to carry the wood, Kemsorn said.

The drivers were fined and the Forestry Administration official was sent to his superiors for “education”, he added.

Bun Sothy, deputy head of Kampong Thom Provincial Forestry Administration, declined to comment, saying he did not work on Sundays and required journalists to file written requests for comment. Sao Vanny, head of the Sandan Forestry Administration, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Thiv Vanthy, provincial agriculture department head, said he was still waiting for a written report on the incident.

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