Members of the Forestry Administration and police from Stung Treng province’s Thala Barivat district seized about 1,000 logs of luxury timber on Saturday, but the woman allegedly in charge of the operation escaped arrest.
The seizure was made when officials raided the warehouse and sawmill of Vietnamese timber trader Heng Samnieng, who also goes by the name Yeay Proeung, district police officials said.
Proeung had been renting the land from local resident Vat Dararith for about two months prior to the raid, and had hired employees to work at the warehouse, according to police.
“When we entered the site, there were six workers there,” said Anlong Chray deputy police chief Chin Rattana. “Dararith had made a one-year contract to rent his land to Yeay Proeung, but she had only been working illegally for two months.”
Proeung escaped before officials arrived on the scene, police said. Two heavy chainsaws were also seized.
In a separate case the same day, officials arrested two loggers as they hauled four trees via ox-carts through a protected forest in Preah Vihear’s Rovieng district.
Cheam Pen commune deputy police chief Ros Lim said two suspects from Kampong Thom province, whom the police identified only as Nen, 45, and Knel, 22, were both arrested.
The two suspects were released the next day after paying a 10 million riel fine, about $2,500, provincial prosecutor Ly Lon said.