Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Timber trader arrested seeking wood’s return

Timber trader arrested seeking wood’s return

Timber trader Heng Samnieng sits with a military police officer yesterday after she was arrested in Stung Treng for brokering illegal lumber. Photo supplied
Timber trader Heng Samnieng sits with a military police officer yesterday after she was arrested in Stung Treng for brokering illegal lumber. Photo supplied

Timber trader arrested seeking wood’s return

Authorities in Stung Treng province arrested timber trader Heng Samnieng yesterday in connection with a string of timber-trafficking offences, according to military police spokesman Eng Hy.

Samnieng, a Vietnamese national better known as “Grandma Proeung”, has seen her warehouses raided on multiple occasions this year, but had so far avoided arrest.

She was finally caught while in the act of attempting to retrieve her impounded lumber with the assistance of seven employees, Hy said.

“We arrested her,” Hy said. “The Forestry Administration built up the case against her, but we arrested her after she led her people to take back her wood.”

Men Kong, a spokesman for the provincial government, said the seized timber had been under armed guard when Samnieng and her seven cohorts arrived yesterday morning to negotiate for its release.

“When she insisted on taking back her wood, we did not allow it and instead took action,” Kong said. “We arrested her and questioned her in compliance with the law.”

The seven employees took flight when they saw Samnieng’s arrest was imminent, he added.

Stung Treng Provincial Court spokesman Sun Yoeurth said that Samnieng is currently in detention and her case is due to be forwarded to the court.

Two Vietnamese men work on a piece of machinery amongst illegal timber in Ratanakkiri on Wednesday. Adhoc
Two Vietnamese men work on a piece of machinery amongst illegal timber in Ratanakkiri on Wednesday. Adhoc

Meanwhile, in Ratanakkiri province’s Andong Meas district, a village chief and Jarai community members reported that 21 Vietnamese nationals illegally crossed into Cambodian territory to fell 150 trees within a protected forest.

Romam Hyang, 52, said that he and two other community members had been patrolling the protected forest on Wednesday when they saw 21 Vietnamese nationals logging with four chainsaws, two motorbikes and two other machines used for transporting timber.

“Most of them ran when they saw us, only seven remained with us in the forest,” Hyang said, adding that the Vietnamese told them they had been operating in the forest since October 2 under the protection of a security guard named Ro-cham Hyal, who they claimed to have been paying $23 a day.

Hyal could not be reached for comment yesterday. However, Rocham Heuy, chief of nearby Taing Se village, confirmed that Hyal was employed as a security guard, and accused him of colluding with the loggers.

“While patrolling, he [Hyal] made a phone call to the loggers to alert them. He does not listen to us and he takes money secretly,” Heuy alleged.

MOST VIEWED

  • Twenty years after Pol Pot died a broken man, his memory looms large

    Two decades have passed, but Mea Chron still stands by Pol Pot. Most days he also stands by the mass murderer’s cremation site, keeping guard in the Khmer Rouge’s last stronghold of Anlong Veng. Pol Pot, the widely reviled despot who spearheaded the

  • Reuters: US Embassy fired 32 staff members for sharing pornography

    The United States Embassy in Phnom Penh has fired 32 non-diplomatic staff members who were allegedly caught exchanging pornographic images and video, including of minors, according to the news agency Reuters. Four sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the content was shared in

  • ‘Trouble’ foreseen in Khmer New Year almanac

    At 9:12am on Saturday, Cambodia’s devout can expect the arrival of Moha Thorathevey, an angel on a peacock holding a trident in one hand and an auspicious serrated wheel in the other. The angel, who has a liking for water hyacinths, will usher in

  • Our 2018 guide to spending Khmer New Year in Phnom Penh

    Khmer New Year festivities are upon us. For the next few days, travellers will be making their way to their home provinces to eat, celebrate, play traditional games and visit a pagoda with offerings. If you will be staying put in Phnom Penh for the