Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tycoon denies timber accusations in Mondulkiri



Tycoon denies timber accusations in Mondulkiri

Tycoon denies timber accusations in Mondulkiri

After ignoring summonses for two months, a prominent timber tycoon accused of illegally trading luxury-grade wood in Mondulkiri province appeared at court to deny his involvement in the case.

Investigating Judge Suy Sophea said Soeng Sam Ol, who holds the honorific of oknha, appeared for questioning this month. The judge said yesterday he believed Sam Ol was not involved in the case.

“The case was sent to court, but it does not involve him whatsoever,” he said, declining to provide further details.

Sam Ol was summonsed on October 12 to testify after the authorities’ anti-logging task force found and seized 60,000 cubic metres of timber in Keo Seima district’s Chong Plas commune, in Mondulkiri, at the beginning of the year. About 20,000 cubic metres of timber seized in the bust belonged to the Dai Than Company, chaired by Sam Ol.

The oknha stayed away from court for two months, claiming he had a health issue.

In his call to crack down on illegal timber schemes, Prime Minister Hun Sen called out Sam Ol and fellow Oknha Lim Bunna after the bust came to light in January.

Environmental activist and Goldman Environmental Prize winner Ouch Leng urged the court to take the premier’s message as further evidence to question Sam Ol, rather than drop the case based on the tycoon’s testimony.

“If the court does not take measures, it means that it does not respect our leader,” Leng said. “The witnesses are the top persons like Military Police commanders and the prime minister . . . Prime minister ordered them to fire the rockets on the oknha.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia's cluster cases jump to 259

    The Ministry of Health on February 27 recorded 26 more cases of Covid-19 linked to the February 20 community transmission, bringing the total to 259 in one week. The 26 include three Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. The ministry noted that five of the Chinese