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Hunt for military captain in Kampong Speu timber crime case

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Illegally procured timber was found buried in the ground, concealed in forests and floating in ponds. Facebook

Hunt for military captain in Kampong Speu timber crime case

Kampong Speu provincial authorities are on the hunt for Choeung Theng, a military officer allegedly connected to 191 pieces of illegally acquired timber which police found concealed in Oral district’s Sangke Satoap commune.

Provincial Department of Environment deputy director Nov Nak told The Post on Wednesday that the confiscated wood was second-grade timber. Two cars, a truck, an excavator and a motorcycle were impounded.

“We handed over all evidence to environmental experts from the Phnom Oral Wildlife Sanctuary for follow-up procedures. We are launching a manhunt for a suspect – we know his identity already,” he said.

Phnom Oral Wildlife Sanctuary office deputy head Hul Mara said: “The suspect concealed the timber at different locations.

“Some were buried underground, some dropped in a pond and some concealed in a forest. So, we found all the timber. We are now launching a manhunt for the suspect and other relevant people.”

ACNCIPO director Chea Hean said on Wednesday that Theng, who is a 42-year-old captain of Military Region 3, is the timber owner.

“The suspect is an active forest criminal and the Kampot Provincial Court issued an arrest warrant for him once previously. He was detained in Prey Sar prison for forest crimes.

“After leaving the detention centre, the suspect committed another crime in Oral district in Kampong Speu province. But this time, he escaped and we are launching a manhunt for him.”

A provincial police report said Theng was previously caught transporting forest products and served time in jail.

Ministry of National Defence spokesperson Chhum Socheat could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

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