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Illegal loggers on the loose in Preah Vihear

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Chheb district authorities in Preah Vihear province are searching for suspects in an illegal logging case after eight cubic metres of timber were found hidden in the district last week. FN

Illegal loggers on the loose in Preah Vihear

Chheb district authorities in Preah Vihear province are searching for suspects in an illegal logging case after eight cubic metres of timber were found hidden in the district last week.

District governor Soksan Dara said on Sunday that district authorities are searching for the offenders, who also operated a wood processing factory without permission.

On Thursday, officials retrieved three cubic metres without legal certificates in Chheb I commune.

On Friday, authorities retrieved five more cubic metres of timber in M’lou Prey I commune.

Dara said the confiscated timber was sent to the Preah Vihear provincial Forestry Administration for legal procedures.

“We are searching for offenders, but we have not received any additional information from our officials. The offence was not committed by merchants in this district because I asked some of our residents and they said that no one traffics timber in this area. It must be outsiders,” he said.

Dara said the investigation was ordered by National Committee for Prevention and Crackdown on Natural Resource Crimes chairman Sao Sokha and Preah Vihear provincial governor Prak Sovann.

The Post could not contact Forestry Administration provincial director Nuon Sokhom for comment. The provincial director of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Ping Trida, refused to comment.

District police chief Chhuon Mady said on Sunday that his authorities did not join the operation. He first received news about it from the media. The Forestry Administration did not request his forces for intervention.

“We did not join this operation because the administration has enough forces. I always see them patrol and stop offences. The administration will request help from me if needed,” Mady said.

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