A joint task force of rangers and police in Kratie province intercepted five vehicles hauling illegal timber after setting up four checkpoints over the weekend to stop loggers – but didn’t manage to catch a single driver or passenger, according to district authorities.
Hang Chandy, Chet Borei district governor, said more than a dozen officials from the Forestry Administration, Military Police and local police have been working “around the clock” since Saturday to set up the checkpoints.
Since then, officials at the checkpoints have spotted 10 vehicles hauling timber and stopped five of them, seizing more than 4 cubic metres of illegal first- and second-grade timber, according to Chandy.
The drivers of all five of the vehicles managed to escape, he said.
Chandy said previous efforts to crack down on illegal logging were not successful because the three departments had been working separately.
“After we set up the checkpoints, the timber transporters became aware of it and they stopped doing it,” he said. “Now, it’s quiet.”
The new checkpoints were set up one day after a video began circulating on Facebook of loggers brazenly throwing planks of timber at a vehicle in pursuit along National Road 7 between Kratie town and Snuol district.
District officials yesterday gave conflicting accounts of the video’s origins and of whether it was related to the new checkpoints.