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Mondulkiri police hunt suspects behind 168 pieces of hidden timber

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Mondulkiri provincial police confiscated 168 pieces of Sokrom timber that were felled and hidden in five different locations in Keo Seima district’s Sre Khtum commune. Supplied

Mondulkiri police hunt suspects behind 168 pieces of hidden timber

Mondulkiri provincial police are on the lookout for suspects behind 168 pieces of Sokrom timber that were felled and hidden in five different locations in Keo Seima district’s Sre Khtum commune.

District police chief Van Dany told The Post on Wednesday that a joint task force led by provincial court deputy prosecutor Morm Vanda found the 168 pieces of timber behind residents’ houses and confiscated them as evidence.

“They did not hide them at a timber-processing facility but concealed them in five different locations. At each place behind villagers’ houses, there were 10 to 20 pieces.

“We counted the logs but I don’t know if specialist officers have measured them in cubic metres yet,” he said.

Dany said loggers brought the timber from other areas and hid them there to transport and sell the same to Vietnamese buyers.

Provincial Forestry Administration head Um Van Sopheak said legal action would be taken against the loggers.

“We are retaining the timber at the Keo Seima district Forestry Administration while building a case file to be referred to court. We are working to determine the identity of the timber owners before the court summons them for questioning,” he said.

Provincial environment department director Keo Sopheak could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

The clampdown is part of a nationwide campaign launched by the National Committee for Prevention and Crackdown on Natural Resource Crimes in February.