Authorities in Thbong Khmum province have intercepted two trucks suspected of illegally shipping first-grade timber cleared from the Lower Sesan 2 hydro-electric dam site.
Chan Dara, the assistant to provincial prosecutor Heing Sopheak, said yesterday that the provincial court ordered the interdiction and inspection of the trucks last Friday because they were “headed in the wrong direction”, towards Vietnam rather than to their approved destination.
“Even if the timber is legal, they were still stopped because the transportation should not have gone to that [check point],” he said.
“The trucks were going in the wrong direction. The timber totalled least between 15 to 17 cubic metres per truck. Whether they were overloaded or not, they had to be halted as long as they were headed on the wrong route,” he added.
Joint forces, including customs officials and national military police, halted the trucks carrying timber belonging to Ang & Associates Lawyers Ltd. The trucks were stopped near a check point on the Vietnamese border, violating law permits for transportation of timber, which is limited to areas within Tbong Khmum province.
He added that the seized trucks and timber were impounded at Tbong Khmum’s customs office for inspection by experts and further legal action.
According to Stung Treng Provincial Forestry Administration’s records, four Agriculture and Forestry Administration officials, as well as a company representative, measured both trucks’ timber at a sawmill in Stung Treng’s Sesan district last Tuesday. The notes also state that the 35.555 cubic metres of timber were from “the clearing of water reservoirs of the Lower Sesan 2”.
On the same day, provincial agricultural department had issued the company permission to transport the timber from the sawmill to Tbong Khmum’s Ponhea Krek district and Kampong Cham’s Koh Sotin district.
One of the trucks, however, operated under a permit that had expired one day before the incident, and was thus transporting timber illegally.
Spokesman of National Military Police Eng Hy, and the company’s representative Mol Ban could not be reached for comment yesterday.