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Timber busts made in Koh Kong, Mondulkiri forests

Three suspects arrested for allegedly transporting illegal timber are questioned by environmental officers on Monday in Koh Kong province. WILDLIFE ALLIANCE
Three suspects arrested for allegedly transporting illegal timber are questioned by environmental officers on Monday in Koh Kong province. Wildlife Alliance

Timber busts made in Koh Kong, Mondulkiri forests

Three men were arrested and questioned on Monday for their alleged role in transporting more than 8 cubic metres of timber valued at $2,500 in Koh Kong’s protected Cardamom forests, officials confirmed.

Rangers working with Wildlife Alliance spotted the men transporting the planks on a wooden boat in Mondul Seima district, according to Mon Phalla, the director of the provincial environmental department. The men were arrested and handed over to the department for questioning, but were soon released.

“The offence is not serious enough to bring them to court because the timber is not cut from luxury wood,” Phalla said, adding that it has not been determined where the wood came from. “If the timber were cut from luxury wood or first-grade wood, then the men would have been sent to court.”

The men confessed to transporting the timber to repair their boats, but said it had not been collected for trading, he added.

In a separate incident on Sunday, Mondulkiri’s provincial environmental rangers confiscated over 2,000 logs and planks of timber in Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary, and are preparing documents to send the case to court, officials said yesterday.

Keo Sopheak, director of the provincial environment department, said that locals had spotted stockpiles of first-grade sokrom and sralao wood – thought to be logged in the sanctuary – about 600 metres from a military regiment’s outpost and informed his rangers, though it was unclear whether the regiment was involved.

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