Almost a month after Oddar Meanchey’s governor ordered her arrest, alleged timber trader Nguyen Thimay has been arrested in Kampong Thom after police caught her and a driver allegedly travelling in a Lexus with fake number plates, officials said yesterday.
Thimay, a Vietnamese national who is also known as “Grandma May”, fled her home in Oddar Meanchey last month following calls for her capture after numerous allegations of luxury wood smuggling.
Some officials said at the time the timber trader had escaped to her native country but on Monday officers apprehended her and her driver, 45-year-old Siem Reap native Mun Thy, at a guesthouse in Kampong Thom’s capital, Stung Sen, according to provincial court spokesman Say Nora.
Nora said that the pair were yesterday charged with counterfeiting a public document under Article 630 of the Criminal Code over the fake number plate displayed on the car and another inside the vehicle.
Kampong Thom Deputy Police Chief Ke Khannara said the plates were likely used to “mislead” authorities during smuggling operations, saying Thimay would face additional charges related to timber trading set out in a warrant issued in May, including collecting and transporting wood under articles 96 and 98 of the Forestry Law.
He said Thimay had denied involvement in illegal logging, claiming she had lent her car to a friend.