Authorities in Ratanakkiri province seized 190 pieces of timber hidden in the forest near the Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary on Monday, but said they were still unsure who owns the illegal wood.
Ratanakkiri Environment Department official Phon Khemerin said Lumphat district authorities coordinated with Military Police to confiscate the timber after receiving tips from people living nearby.
“The police are investigating the perpetrators of the illegal timber trade, but we have not found any clues,” Khemerin said. “The authorities will find them soon, I believe.”
Among the haul are 180 pieces of first-grade timber and 10 pieces of second-grade, square-cut timber, all hidden near Seda commune’s Samutkram village.
The sanctuary has been a hotspot for illegal logging, with residents of the commune filing a suit last year accusing local officials – including Khemerin – of being complicit in clearing the forest. In February, authorities made a similar bust in the same commune but were also unable to find the owner of the timber.
Kep Kort, a provincial Forestry Administration official, said the matter was under the jurisdiction of the Environment Department. “Environmental officials organised the report,” he said. “I just helped them find and lift all of the timber.”