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Police seize illegal rosewood; suspect escapes

Police seize illegal rosewood; suspect escapes

Nearly a tonne of rosewood was uncovered in a raid yesterday in Kampong Speu in which the suspect successfully fled after injuring an officer, police officials said.  

The raid followed weeks of surveillance, said Bos Sin, Oral district deputy police chief, who added that five provincial officers and four district officers ran the bust.

According to Sin, police approached  the suspect just as he was in the act of loading wood into a truck from his home, which they believed he was driving to a hiding place in Tasal commune’s Kreal Pong village.

Officers set up a series of road blocks, but the suspect refused to stop, instead plowing his car into the barriers, dispersing the officers and injuring one slightly, but puncturing a tire in the process. The suspect then took off on foot, successfully fleeing from officers, Sin said.

“The car and 905 kilograms of rosewood and a chainsaw have been impounded by the police,” he said.

“Now, that evidence is being kept at the provincial court and we have asked for an arrest warrant for the suspect.”

 Keo Pisey, provincial police chief, said police spent about two weeks investigating after receiving a tip from villagers, who had spotted the man moving wood between his home and his vehicle.

 “The villagers confirmed that the suspect took his wood out [of his house] twice, but they did not know where he drove to,” he said.

“Our police investigated and found the rosewood in his house while he was weighing and putting it into his car to drive out again,” he continued.  

“According to the quality assessment, I can say a rough value of that rosewood is $300,000,” he said. “Now, we will continue to investigate and search to arrest him and his accomplices, because I think that case involves not only him.”

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