Environmental authorities confiscated nearly eight cubic metres of illegal timber in three separate incidents on the weekend, with media alleging that Stung Treng provincial authorities attempted to intervene on one smuggler’s behalf – a charge they denied yesterday.
Over seven cubic metres of timber were confiscated in Kampong Speu’s Phnom Oral Wildlife Sanctuary. Ministry of Environment rangers and NGO officials stopped two drivers transporting wood out of the protected area, and found another unrelated stockpile within the sanctuary.
“The trees were illegally logged in the protected area,” said Chea Hean, director of the environmental NGO Natural Resources and Wildlife Preservation Organization.
But Bunthoeun, Oral district police chief, said the two drivers will only be fined because the timber was not from an endangered or first-grade species. Authorities have not found the loggers responsible for the other stockpile.
On Friday, in Stung Treng, a man was arrested for illegally transporting luxury timber.
Leang Seng, chief of the provincial agriculture department, said Muy Kim Sruoy, 22, was arrested while transporting a cubic metre of luxury wood.
“We sent him to court Sunday morning after military police arrested him with a van packed with 43 pieces of wood,” Seng said.
Media outlet ANN accused deputy provincial governors Chea Thavrith and Duong Pov of attempting to intervene on the suspect’s behalf.
Thavrith denied the allegations, while Pov could not be reached.