SIEM REAP PROVINCE
OFFICIALS in Siem Reap province raided a warehouse on the grounds of a tourist destination on Monday in a continuation of illegal logging crackdowns demanded by Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Ty Soveinthal, a prosecutor at Siem Reap Provincial Court, said officials found a stockpile of what is believed to be illegally felled wood in a warehouse on the grounds of the Cambodian Cultural Village.
He said he could not say how much wood was being kept there, but officials estimated the stockpile totalled hundreds of cubic metres.
“Mostly, my clerks and police officers know where wood is kept, because they have worked for such a long time,” said Ty Soveinthal, who added that local villagers never leak information to officials.
Nhim Seila, deputy commander-in-chief of the military police in Siem Reap, said it appeared the wood was to be used in construction, not to be sold.
“We just know there is a big amount. I think that the wood is not for trade, but for development,” said Nhim Seila.
He said the cultural village where the wood was found Monday belongs to Canadia Bank PLC.
At the moment, he said, no arrests have been made. Authorities seized and locked the warehouse and planned to return today to measure the wood.
Charles Vann, the deputy general manager of Canadia Bank, told the Post that he had not yet received any information about the raid.
Last month, court officials detained six suspects after authorities seized seven luxury SUVs that were allegedly carrying timber from Preah Vihear province into Phnom Penh.
Earlier this year, the prime minister told an audience of military commanders that he would not tolerate officials’ involvement in illegal logging.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CHEANG SOKHA