Authorities yesterday discovered at least 20 tonnes of rosewood and other luxury timber after raiding a warehouse in Kandal province’s Kien Svay district.
Despite the find of the illegally logged rare wood, no arrests were made, with police only saying the property in Samrong Thom commune had been rented to a man living in Phnom Penh.
The raid was conducted by officers from the police, Military Police and the Forestry Administration (FA).
The FA chief in Kien Svay, Y Sophy, said the team cut the warehouse’s locks after receiving a warrant from the provincial court director, Hok Vanthina.
“This huge warehouse contains two types of timber – rosewood and thnong. Some of them are too small to be counted, but they can be weighed. Based on the estimation, the timber is about 20 tonnes,” Sophy said.
Sophy said the owner of the warehouse, identified in the search warrant as Ly Huo, 39, was yet to be found. He said that it had been rented to a man living in the capital via the local village chief.
Goldman Prize-winning anti-logging activist Ouch Leng said he suspected the discovered rosewood had been logged from Thailand, adding it was likely not the only one.
“There are many timber warehouses especially in the centre of the city in Boeung Trabek and O’bek Kaorm,” Leng said. “They haul luxurious timber with the backing from high-ranking officials.”
Meanwhile, in a separate timber bust in Stung Treng province yesterday, Military Police and FA officers raided a house in the provincial town, finding hundreds of pieces of illegal timber.
Stung Treng Provincial Court spokesman Kim Hongsan said police continued to search for suspects.
“We want to arrest the house owner but he was aware of the raid beforehand, so he managed to escape,” Hongsan said.