Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Illegal luxury timber discovered on tourist bus

Illegal luxury timber discovered on tourist bus

Illegal luxury timber discovered on tourist bus

Officials, tipped off by “secret agents”, intercepted a load of illegal luxury timber being smuggled in a tourist bus travelling from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh.

Sut Mary, chief of the Kampong Thma commune Forestry Administration Cantonment, in Kampong Thom province’s Santuk district, said a Rith Mony bus was intercepted after loading up 22 pieces of illegally felled rosewood in Siem Reap’s Chi Kraeng district.

“Joint forces including military, police and Forestry Administration officials stopped the bus at 3am after getting tipped off from secret agents in Siem Reap. But the driver escaped after they found the luxury rosewood timber,” he said.

The timber, Mary said, amounted to 0.303 cubic metres.

It is not clear how the driver was able to escape when the bus had been hauled up by a joint force of officials.

Sam Vichet, Rith Mony administration manager, said the company had begun preparing legal papers against the driver.

“We are preparing legal documents and searching to apprehend the driver who broke the company’s rules,” he said.

In Kampong Thom’s Baray district, Mary said, a Toyota Camry carrying 235 pieces of rosewood weighing 1,200 kilograms was raided at the Kampong Thma bridge in Balaing commune – but once again the driver mysteriously escaped.

“After 30 days, if the owners of both cars aren’t present to resolve this legally, we will send the cases and the evidence to court,” he said.

The most valuable species of rosewood can fetch about $10,000 per cubic metre in Cambodia and far higher prices in foreign markets such as China.

Its value continually increases as the wood becomes rarer in Cambodia due to the rampant illegal logging of the wood that takes place almost any area of the Kingdom where it’s found.  

In Cambodia’s Northeast, rosewood has been so comprehensively logged that villagers, often employed by powerful syndicates, routinely risk being fatally shot by Thai soldiers during crossings into the neighbouring country to illegally log.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kim Yuthana at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters

  • Sam Rainsy, government group set to clash at IPU Geneva meet?

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy has been invited to speak at the General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva, according to a former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmaker. A government delegation is also set to attend the meeting, a National Assembly press release