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Officials implicated in Koh Kong rosewood bust

Officials implicated in Koh Kong rosewood bust

The Koh Kong Provincial Court said yesterday that authorities are still preparing a report on a recent 4-tonne rosewood raid, amid rumours that the illegal luxury timber belonged to a pair of local officials.

Buo Bun Hang, provincial court prosecutor, said that customs officials intercepted a boat and confiscated four tonnes of illegal rosewood timber on Thursday. When asked for details on the ongoing case, however, Bun Hang said “don’t ask me”.

“This is the work of the authorities . . . We are making the report about the case,” he said. Bun Hang also refused to comment on whether any arrests had been made.

However, one district police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, maintained that the rosewood belonged to a naval officer named “Tha” and deputy provincial police chief Yim Pheng.

The officer said Pheng and Tha worked with each other to collect the endangered rosewood and transport it to be sold in Vietnam.

“Mr Pheng is in charge of bringing rosewood from the islands in Koh Kong to be stored in Mondul Seima. Mr Tha is then in charge of transporting the wood to Vietnam,” the source alleged.

Responding to the allegations, Pheng yesterday claimed an unidentified soldier was responsible for the rosewood and threatened to file a complaint against his accuser.

“Who says I am doing rosewood business? I ask him to meet me . . . He may be confusing me with this soldier . . . This wood belonged to the soldier,” he said.

“I am a policeman and I am not doing this business, so be careful or I will file a complaint.”

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