Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - More rosewood seized

More rosewood seized

More rosewood seized

3 rosewood seized
Officials examine a haul of rosewood hidden under sacks of cassava in Pursat province on Monday. Photo Supplied

More than four cubic metres of rosewood was seized in Pursat province on Monday, officials said yesterday, the second- largest bust of the sought-after timber in less than a week.

Phnom Kravanh district forestry administration officers yesterday appealed for the owners to come forward and confess, after joint authorities found the wood hidden in a truck carrying cassava in Santre commune.

“If no owners confess, we will file a complaint with the court to take legal action,” Net Vanna, chief of Phnom Kravanh’s forest administration, said.

Should the men come forward, they would be fined but not charged, Vanna said.

“Forest crimes are different from other crimes, in that if the owners come to confess, they pay the fine and then are free from court charges, but the wood will be seized as state property,” he said.

Vanna said he was unsure what the fine would be, but typically it was set at three times the price of the wood.

Military police and forestry administration officials stopped the truck because of its lack of licence plates. While investigating, they found the wood.

“We confiscated 91 pieces of wood equalling four and a half cubic metres and sent them to Phnom Kravanh district forest administration to take legal action,” Vanna said, adding that the drivers had fled when the truck was stopped and police had no leads on the owners.

In February, Prime Minister Hun Sen signed an order cracking down on the transporting, collecting, stocking and exporting of rosewood. The detailed directive notes that if there is  smuggling in any area, the local commander of that area could be held responsible.

Last week, authorities at the Thai- Cambodian border seized seven cubic metres of what an Interior Ministry official called “the highest-grade rosewood I have ever seen”.  No arrests have been made in that case.

Chhim Savuth, a co-ordin-ator at the Cambodian Center for Human Rights who tracks logging, said that with erratic enforcement, increased crackdowns would have no effect.

“If we want to crack down effectively, we must arrest the masterminds of major traders to be brought to justice,” Savuth said.

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,