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Timber found in Mondulkiri province wildlife refuge

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Authorities seize illegal luxury timber that was discovered in the Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary in Mondulkiri province on Sunday. Photo supplied

Timber found in Mondulkiri province wildlife refuge

A multi-agency law enforcement team discovered 875 logs of high-grade thnong timber behind a home in Mondulkiri province’s Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary on Sunday.

Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary director Din Bunthoeun said yesterday that a team composed of Mondulkiri provincial environment rangers, local police and military officers found the thnong while searching the home of Khieu Ry and his wife, Pich Channy.

“[Channy] said that someone left [the timber] there and asked them to take care [of it],” Bunthoeun said. “The family does not have money to buy timber.”

Channy identified the source of the stockpile as a broker who spent more than $10,000 to buy the timber. Bunthoeun declined to reveal the alleged broker’s name as an investigation is still underway.

“The broker got the money from someone to buy the timber, but we don’t know who he wanted to sell to,” said Bunthoeun, adding that the wood was likely logged from the Prom Prich and Srekpok wildlife sanctuaries.

Separately, Forestry Administration officials and police in Kandal province’s Ang Snuol district raided two sawmills and confiscated more than 600 logs and planks of beng and sokram timber yesterday.

District police chief Mean Samnang said that a sawmill owner was arrested and “will be sent to the provincial Forestry Administration”, but declined to comment further.

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