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‘Smugglers’ charged in Siem Reap; more wood confiscated

Authorities unload illegal rosewood from a petrol tanker on Sunday after it was seized in Siem Reap province. Photo supplied
Authorities unload illegal rosewood from a petrol tanker on Sunday after it was seized in Siem Reap province. Photo supplied

‘Smugglers’ charged in Siem Reap; more wood confiscated

Two soldiers implicated in one of the year’s largest Siamese rosewood busts were charged by Siem Reap provincial court yesterday, according to provincial Forestry Administration director Tea Kimsoth.

Provincial prosecutor’s office spokesman Ream Channy said yesterday that he had not received an update on the case, which revolves around 8 tonnes of timber discovered by officials inside an empty petrol tanker on Sunday.

Provincial Forestry Administration chief Kimsoth said yesterday that a further 193 pieces of Siamese rosewood weighing more than 300 kilograms were seized by military police on Tuesday night.

“The wood had been hidden underneath rice husks in Siem Reap city. We will build a case and send it to the court,” Kimsoth said. As with Sunday’s haul, he said the timber was likely on its way to Vietnam.

Siamese rosewood has been protected by Cambodian law and the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) since 2013, but Vietnamese customs and CITES data show that a considerable amount of the precious timber continues to make its way to Vietnam.

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