Border officials arrested five men on Sunday night for allegedly transporting 17 logs of illicit first-grade wood to a sawmill in Mondulkiri’s Koh Nhek district that is owned by a company with links to alleged illegal logging, police said yesterday.
District police chief Kan Penh said the men were caught with trucks full of the wood en route to a sawmill owned by a firm accused by a provincial governor in 2014 of large-scale illegal logging.
“They did not manage to escape,” Penh said. “They [were trying to] haul the timber to a sawmill of Ly Rithy Group.”
Ly Rithy is a partner of Rina Development, which holds a forest clearance licence inside an economic land concession granted to Unigreen Resources, according to a March 2014 letter by Eng Bunheang, who was the provincial governor at the time.
The letter said Ly Rithy Group continued logging illegally in areas outside of the concession even as authorities tried to stop them.
Sao Sokha, commander of the national military police and also head of a special anti-logging taskforce, also discovered hundreds of logs at the Unigreen Resources concession last year.
However, Unigreen Resources representative Lam Kimchean has denied any illegal logging.
Ly Rithy Group could not be reached for comment yesterday.