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‘Illegal’ timber seized in Mondulkiri Province

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Police previously seized timber in Ratanakkiri (pictured). Last weekend nearly 30 cubic metres of timber were discovered in Mondulkiri while chainsaws and related machinery were impounded in Ratanakkiri. Photo supplied

‘Illegal’ timber seized in Mondulkiri Province

On Monday, police reported the discovery of nearly 30 cubic metres of timber in O’Pot Sanctuary, a forest located in Mondulkiri province’s Pech Chreada district.

The Pech Chreada district police chief-of-staff, Tok Yen, told The Post that the timber was discovered by border police on December 7. Experts are now transporting the wood to be impounded at a nearby environmental office to be measured and processed.

Provincial environmental department director Keo Sopheak said the majority of the approximately 28.3 cubic metres of timber is of the Korki, Srolav and Sokroam variety.

“Because the timber does not have an owner, authorities decided to prepare the documents to recognise the timber as state property,” he said.

Villagers living nearby the discovery claimed that before the authorities investigated the matter, they saw numerous trucks hauling timber towards the Vietnamese border.

Kroeung Tola, a resident of Pech Chreada district’s Lum Mes village, told The Post that she saw trucks hauling timber every night, with an especially large amount of activity on Wednesday night.

Tola said that while she did not know where the timber came from, she believed it was illegally logged as “the trucks were headed to the Cambodia-Vietnam border at night”.

In a separate incident in Ratanakkiri province, authorities reported that Kon Mom district command forces led by district deputy governor Say Chamroeun intercepted four trucks loaded with materials used to process timber.

The evidence was seized and handed to forestry administration experts for further processing.

The chief-of-staff at the Kon Mom district police station, Phan Te, told The Post that the operation was launched on Saturday along National Road 78 in the district’s Ong Ka Te village. The trucks were found carrying chainsaws and other related machinery.

“The four trucks, materials and devices were handed to Ratanakkiri provincial forestry administration to be processed,” Phan Te said.

Provincial forestry administration director Keb Kot could not be reached for comment on Monday.

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