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Two held for trafficking rosewood in Ratanakkiri

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Forestry Administration officials took two people into custody in connection to the smuggling of more than five cubic metres of rosewood. Photo supplied

Two held for trafficking rosewood in Ratanakkiri

Ratanakkiri provincial officials on Sunday questioned two suspects at the provincial Forestry Administration headquarters in connection to the smuggling of more than five cubic metres of rosewood.

Authorities arrested the two suspects – a man and a woman – on July 30 in Kon Mom district’s Village 4 in Trapaing Chres commune.

The woman appeared to be the owner of the timber while the man acted as the driver, officials said.

Provincial Forestry Administration chief Keb Kort said on Sunday that officials were questioning the two while authorities searched for more suspects.

“We have not sent the case to court yet and I do not know when it will be sent. Now our officials are searching for others and working carefully on the case,” he said.

Nov Dara, the deputy police chief of the provincial bureau for combating economic crime, confirmed that two suspects had been arrested for trafficking first-grade timber.

He said the crackdown was carried out on the orders of provincial governor Thong Savun in collaboration with provincial court deputy prosecutor Leang Ou.

Dara said police arrested the suspects as the man was driving a truck. He said authorities compounded the truck and a milling machine among other evidence.

He said other workers were involved, but they had escaped. He said the owner of the site bought the prized timber from villagers and corrupt traders in the province to serve her business. But authorities confiscated the materials, arrested the owner and closed her worksite.

Kon Mom district governor Sek Hay on Sunday declined to comment on the case.

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