Svay Rieng provincial authorities on Sunday said a luxury tnong tree which disappeared overnight from a provincial hall was cut down to prevent it from falling and causing injury or damage to property.
The clarification followed widespread outcry and media reports that the tree, said to be around 200 years old and worth up to a million dollars, had been illegally logged.
Ngoun Khan, an official at the provincial hall, said the tree was felled because it was old and starting to decay.
He said the tree was planted when the provincial hall was built around 50 years ago, so it wasn’t 200 years old.
Khan said the provincial hall felled the tree on July 28 to make tables, chairs and other equipment for use at the hall.