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Timber found inside tanker

Officials inspect a load of illegal rosewood found in the back of a seized tanker truck on Saturday. Photo supplied
Officials inspect a load of illegal rosewood found in the back of a seized tanker truck on Saturday. Photo supplied

Timber found inside tanker

Nearly seven months after a gas tanker truck was involved in a deadly crash in Banteay Meanchey province, authorities finally searched it on Saturday, finding it loaded with rosewood.

The Phnom Penh-plated tanker was involved in a crash that killed a motorcycle driver in May and seriously injured the passenger, according to the provincial traffic police chief, Sorn Koemsuor. The truck driver fled the scene at the time.

“No one came and solved the case yet [so] . . . we decided to open it up,” he said, noting the search occurred with permission from provincial Police Chief Ath Khem and in the presence of the provincial deputy prosecutor.

Chhen Sovat, the provincial chief of Anti-Economic Crime Department, said the inspection revealed 355 small pieces of rosewood.

The truck was painted with the logo of Tela, but Sab Soeung, the head of the petroleum company’s provincial branch, said that the colours and dimensions of the truck appeared different from company trucks, and the licence plate number did not correspond to a vehicle belonging to the company. “I went to see it directly at the police post . . . I think this is just a [trick of the timber smugglers] that damages my company,” he said.

Meanwhile, in Kratie province, authorities seized 740 planks of various luxury woods between Thursday and Saturday in Sambor and Chet Borei districts, according to Try Mengleang, the provincial Forestry Administration’s deputy chief, who noted that no suspects have been identified.

The haul is currently being held by the Forestry Administration.

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