Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Military cop in logging probe



Military cop in logging probe

Authorities seize illegal timber that allegedly belonged to a deputy military police chief, on Saturday in Kampong Speu province. Photo supplied
Authorities seize illegal timber that allegedly belonged to a deputy military police chief, on Saturday in Kampong Speu province. Photo supplied

Military cop in logging probe

Military police on Saturday launched an investigation into one of their own, raiding the Kampong Speu province home of a deputy district gendarmerie chief accused of trafficking timber, whose whereabouts yesterday remained unknown.

According to provincial governor Vei Samnang, officers from the national and provincial gendarmes were led to the home of Oral district deputy gendarmerie chief lieutenant colonel Chheng Long after arresting and questioning the driver of a truck carrying luxury wood seized nearby in Chbar Mon City’s Kandorl Dom commune on Saturday afternoon.

The driver, Yoem Sophearum, 32, was detained and his truck confiscated, while gendarmes were dispatched to Long’s house, which they surrounded by 8pm together with Forestry Administration officers, Samnang said.

“At about 7am, authorities [yesterday] started to inspect his house, but so far we have not gotten the results as they are still working on it,” he said, adding officers had discovered “some wood” and “old machines”, though the haul had yet to be tallied.

“Details of how many cubic metres of wood there are have not been received yet,” he said.

A report on the National Police website stated that four trucks and an excavator were seized. Samnang said Long had “run away,” and was unable to provide further details about his whereabouts.

Speaking yesterday, a commune official, who asked to remain anonymous to avoid potential repercussions, said Long’s property housed a warehouse full of luxury wood.

“When military police searched his house, he was not there,” he said. “He has been doing this business since 2002. The trucks transport the wood at night time. No authorities have wanted to bother [stopping it] because he was powerful and had his network to operate his business.”

Alleging officials were paid-off, Chea Hean, director of the Natural Resource and Wildlife Preservation Organisation, said Long’s timber business had been running since at least 2016 without interruption from authorities.

He said the wood was sourced from Koh Kong and Pursat provinces and kept in three warehouses, adding the family owned a house worth between $300,000 and $400,000 and also operated three gas stations.

Meanwhile, in Pursat province on Friday, provincial military police and Forestry Administration officers arrested a 41-year old woman named Heng Phally after they seized a truck illegally transporting 70 pieces of luxury wood hidden under cassava, corn and soybeans in Veal Veng district.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia's cluster cases jump to 259

    The Ministry of Health on February 27 recorded 26 more cases of Covid-19 linked to the February 20 community transmission, bringing the total to 259 in one week. The 26 include three Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. The ministry noted that five of the Chinese