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

  • Hun Sen: Full country reopening to be decided in two weeks

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced that if the Covid-19 situation remains stable for 15 consecutive days from the end of the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, Cambodia will reopen fully, albeit in the context of Covid-19 whereby people have to adjust their lives to

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Phnom Penh governor: Show Covid-19 vaccination cards, or else

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng late on October 5 issued a directive requiring all people aged 18 and over and the parents of children aged 6-17 to produce Covid-19 vaccination cards when entering schools, markets, malls, marts, eateries and other business establishments that have been permitted

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to