Ratanakkiri Military Police officials yesterday denied multiple local media reports that thousands of logs of luxury timber were being transported on the Sesan River to be sent to Vietnam illegally.
Various local media outlets on Tuesday aired a one-minute video clip showing large stockpiles of luxury timber, including the thnong and neang nuon varieties, being pushed into the Sesan River by nine workers.
News outlets suggested the timber was being illegally transported via the river to Vietnam through the O’Yadav border checkpoint.
Kim Raksmey, provincial Military Police commander, said he was instructed to look into the claim after Deputy National Military Police Commander Hong Vinol asked for an immediate investigation.
However, Raksmey said the timber was not being illegally transported and was from a licensed economic land concession controlled by Hong An Mang Yang K Rubber Development.
“We checked and found that the company collecting the timber was legal. The company was recently permitted to transport six trucks of timber,” he said.
But, Soy Sona, head of the provincial Agriculture Department, said that the company had already cleared the forest within its ELC to plant rubber and only some old timber remained.
Sona said he didn’t know whether there was any illicit timber collection going on outside the company’s land, and acknowledged that some locals in the area were known to sell timber for extra income.