Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM bodyguard held over raid on Forestry Administration



PM bodyguard held over raid on Forestry Administration

Rosewood sits in the back of a vehicle on Friday at a Forestry Administration compound in Preah Vihear after it was seized by the authorities last week. Photo supplied
Rosewood sits in the back of a vehicle on Friday at a Forestry Administration compound in Preah Vihear after it was seized by the authorities last week. Photo supplied

PM bodyguard held over raid on Forestry Administration

The Kampong Chhnang Provincial Court on Saturday detained a captain in the Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit on a months-old charges of obstructing a Forestry Administration official after he and a gang of alleged accomplices illegally retrieved his vehicle from impound more than two years ago, according to court spokesman Long Sitha.

Captain Lun Leng’s car was allegedly impounded by Forestry Administration officials with a load full of illegal timber in late 2013, said Sitha, who noted Leng’s charges were not for the transportation of forest products. Rather, Leng was charged in July over his alleged participation in the raid by himself and nine others on January 2, 2014 on the provincial Forestry Administration depot to retrieve the confiscated car.

“When they arrived, they did not ask [permission],” Sitha said. “They pulled the wood out and drove the car away.”

If found guilty, Leng faces between one and five years in prison, as well as a fine of 10 million to 100 million riel ($2,497 to $24,795). He was arrested on Friday morning while eating breakfast at a restaurant in Kampong Chhnang town’s Ba’er commune.

Asked why it took nearly three years to arrest Leng, Sitha said the case had been held up by court procedures.

Sitha said that he was still waiting for confirmation of Leng’s membership in the Bodyguard Unit from the Ministry of Defence, but did confirm the authenticity of a photo of a Bodyguard Unit ID card confiscated from Leng that identified him as a captain and was signed by the unit’s commander, Hing Bun Heang.

Bun Heang could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Forestry Administration had a busy weekend, according to postings on the agency’s Facebook page.

Officials in Preah Vihear’s Sangkum Thmei district confiscated a car loaded with 350 kilograms of rosewood in Chamroeun commune on Friday, although the driver fled the scene before they could be arrested.

In nearby Choam Ksan district, officials based at Preah Vihear temple successfully apprehended Heng Ravuth in Choam Ksan commune, whose car was alleged to have been loaded with 73 pieces of rosewood weighing a total of 383 kilograms.

In Siem Reap, provincial Forestry Administration officers stopped a truck loaded with 120 pieces of luxury wood in Svay Leu district’s Boeung Mealea commune. The post did not say whether a suspect was arrested.

Multiple Forestry Administration officials could not be reached yesterday for comment on the busts.

An Agriculture Ministry report issued this month revealed that while timber seizures have gone up dramatically in the past 12 months, the number of suspects being sent to court and fined have fallen.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a

  • Cambodia ready to exit LDC status

    Cambodia is well-prepared to minimise economic risks when it graduates from its Least Developed Countries status, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Commerce on May 7. Four LDCs – Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and Nepal – met at a virtual workshop last week to explore potential

  • Nine US franchises eye Cambodia debut

    Nine famous US franchising companies are looking for business opportunities and expansion into Cambodia to build a footstep for a strong foundation in Southeast Asia. The US embassy in Phnom Penh, in partnership with the US Foreign Commercial Service and with support from the American

  • Lost in translation: ‘Starvation’ in capital’s designated red zones

    “DACH bay” is a Khmer slang meaning a “loss of income”, that could also be literally translated to «deprived of rice”, which alludes to starvation. However, civil society organisation (CSO) officials have independently confirmed the government’s prior assertions that there are no cases of