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NGO head says K Speu ‘timber trader’ had help

Officials in Oddar Meanchey province inspect some of the 460 kilograms of rosewood seized earlier this week. GRK
Officials in Oddar Meanchey province inspect some of the 460 kilograms of rosewood seized earlier this week. GRK

NGO head says K Speu ‘timber trader’ had help

The NGO director that first outed a Kampong Speu military official as the alleged owner of a timber stockpile discovered in a raid last week yesterday said he is not working alone.

Chea Hean, director of the NGO Natural Resources and Wildlife Protection Organization, said yesterday that military officer and alleged timber trader Choeung Theng – who has been missing since a Kampong Speu lumber warehouse belonging to him was raided last Tuesday – was working alongside a military police officer in the area.

“They colluded with each other to commit forest crimes [in a Pursat province protected area] and sell the timber in Vietnam,” Hean said.

Theng’s phone has been switched off ever since last week’s raid, and neither Theng’s alleged partner nor his superiors could be reached yesterday. Theng is also the subject of a Kampot court case related to a bridge that collapsed under the weight of a timber-laden truck that he allegedly owned.

Tith Vannak, who heads the provincial military police justice office, yesterday said that he was unaware of the allegation that a military police officer had been working with an accomplice. “We just know that the timber was found on Theng’s land,” he said, declining further comment.

Meanwhile in Oddar Meanchey’s Trapaing Prasat district, authorities seized 460 kilograms of Siamese rosewood, though no arrests were made, said provincial police official Chhit Chorn.

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