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Govt timber seizures proceed apace

Govt timber seizures proceed apace

RUSSEY Keo district authorities arrested two people in connection with illegal logging during a search of a warehouse in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, as similar crackdowns continued across the country, officials said.

Chan Sahuth, deputy district police chief, said the search was authorised following the issuing of a warrant by Phnom Penh Municipal Court. The subsequent search of the warehouse uncovered 5.7 cubic metres of luxury wood, which was sent to the Forestry Administration.

Ly Meng Kheang and his wife, Srun Phirom, were sent to the Cambodian military police station in Phnom Penh for questioning, Chan Sahuth added.

The search in Phnom Penh came among similar raids in Ratanakkiri, Kampong Cham and Siem Reap provinces.

Thoang Savuth, deputy governor of Ratanakkiri province, said authorities had intercepted nearly 450 cubic metres of luxury wood since Prime Minister Hun Sen in January told an audience of military commanders that he would no longer put up with illegal logging operations conducted by high-ranking officials.

“We haven’t arrested anyone because the majority of the wood was found abandoned in the forests,” he said.

He added that even before the January directive, provincial authorities had seized more than 200 cubic metres of luxury wood.

Njem Sela, Siem Reap’s provincial deputy police chief, said military police have led operations to raid and search various locations.

“From March we have cracked down on one large place involved in illegal logging and confiscated a total of around 5 cubic metres of luxury wood and 95 cubic metres of normal wood,” he said. “We have also detained seven suspects and sent them to provincial court for questioning.”

Lak Leang, Kampong Cham’s deputy military police chief, said authorities had confiscated 4,000 pieces of luxury wood from 10 locations.

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