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Military officer, wife deny timber charges

Choeung Theng (pictured) after being detained in 2016 for the destruction of a bridge in Kampot Province.
Choeung Theng (pictured) after being detained in 2016 for the destruction of a bridge in Kampot Province. National Police

Military officer, wife deny timber charges

The trial of military officer and alleged illegal logger Choeung Theng and his wife began at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday, but neither were present.

Theng was arrested in April, after spending months at large, after police uncovered around 48 cubic metres of illegal timber on his Kampong Speu property in December.

Earlier last year, he destroyed a bridge while attempting to cross it in a truck overloaded with illegal timber.

Theng and his wife, Kou Sokhoeun, were charged with illegally collecting, transporting and conducting business with forestry products.

Both defendants claimed they were too ill to attend yesterday’s hearing, but submitted statements to the court.

In Theng’s, he claimed he did not harvest the timber but bought it from another villager. He said he fled from police out of fear of punishment.

He added that Sokhoeun was not involved.

The defence requested that the court drop all charges against Sokhoeun and dismiss the charges of collecting and transporting for Theng.

A verdict is due on October 12.

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