Mondulkiri provincial joint forces detained a man for questioning, confiscated seven motorbikes and seized 178 timber logs in O’Raing district’s Dak Dam commune on Saturday.
Provincial department of Agriculture director Song Kheang said officials from his department, the forestry administration, provincial police, Military Police and O’Raing and Keo Seima district police stopped seven men as they were transporting timber.
Kheang said six of the suspects escaped into the forest, leaving behind their bikes and the timber, while authorities managed to arrest a 34-year-old man.
“We sent the suspect for questioning and uncovered 178 logs of timber measuring some five cubic metres and some firewood,” he said.
Authorities confiscated the seven motorcycles and took them apart so they would not be used in future crimes. The timber was seized by the forestry administrations of O’Raing district and Chung Phlas commune in Keo Seima district.
“They [officials] drafted a report and forwarded it to Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries officials,” Provincial Forestry Administration director Um Van Sopheak said, adding that chainsaws and a car were also seized.
“Each motorbike transported a few logs of timber, and upon seeing our officials, six of them fled. We are looking for them,” he said.
Provincial coordinator for right groups Adhoc, Eang Mengly, supported the crackdown, stressing that illegal timber is more often transported on a smaller scale with motorbikes, rather than trucks.
“Some villagers still log wood [illegally] and transport it together at one time. When they gather a lot of logs, they sell it every 15 days or once a month. Some sell timber to Vietnamese brokers and others to local ones,” Mengly said.