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Rash of arrests tied to rosewood continues

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Luxury wood sits on a trailer in a section of forest in Kampong Thom yesterday after it was seized by authorities. Forestry administration

Rash of arrests tied to rosewood continues

Authorities in Kampong Thom refused to name a man charged by the provincial court yesterday with the collection and transportation of Siamese rosewood. Provincial prosecutor’s office spokesman Say Nora would not name the suspect, but said that he is currently in pre-trial detention in Kampong Thom prison, having been arrested on Tuesday.

He has been charged under articles 96 and 98 of the Law on Forestry and if found guilty could face up to five years in prison.

“We received a tip about a location where wood was being cut down, and it really was being cut down,” Nora said. “When we arrested him in his car, he was on his way back [from there]. People had claimed he transported workers there to cut down trees, but the workers and the wood had been moved out before the authorities arrived.

“The authorities are on the lookout for people involved in this and for the location of the 0.8-by-8 cubic metres of Siamese rosewood they cut down within Prey Lang Forest,” he continued, going on to say that the suspect in pre-trial detention denied all charges but had taken photos of felled rosewood on his phone.

In recent weeks in Kampong Thom and across the country, there has been a rash of arrests and seizures of Siamese rosewood, the harvesting, transportation and trade of which has been illegal since 2013.

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