Authorities in Kandal province arrested 19 people in a timber raid at a Metfone shop, but released 15 after questioning, including the branch’s director.
Provincial Police Chief Eav Chamroeun yesterday said authorities received a tip-off that a car loaded with timber had arrived at a local Metfone shop in Takdol village, in Takhmao town, after which he and the provincial prosecutor ordered a raid on the location. He said 19 people were arrested, but that the owner of the timber is thought to have escaped.
Provincial court spokesperson So Sarin said only four were ultimately charged with collecting illegal timber: three Vietnamese nationals working at the shop – Dang Yang Tam, 31; Do Yang Lam, 60; and Luong Chanthy, 37 – and Cambodian employee Om Tolaroath, 37.
According to a Facebook post by Chamroeun, police seized 3.3 tonnes of illegal rosewood at the shop, but Chamroeun yesterday noted that Metfone itself was not involved.
“This happened at the Metfone location, but it does not involve the Metfone company. There is just one outsider who colluded with this branch director,” he said.
Nonetheless, the director was released as the case was a “personal” matter, Chamroeun said, declining to explain further.
Chheang Thina, head of the Takhmao Forestry Administration, identified the director as Heng Soveat. Soveat’s contact details could not be found yesterday and Metfone staff declined to comment.
“The evidence – rosewood and car – are at my place and they are waiting for the document preparation,” Thina said.