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

  • Siem Reap drain canal now ‘mangrove’ promenade

    A more than half a kilometre long stretch of canal in Siem Reap has been covered and turned into a promenade to attract visitors, said Ly Rasmey, secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, on September 16. The new pedestrianised

  • Angkor wildlife, aquarium park still to open October

    The Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium complex about 30km southeast of Siem Reap town with initial total investment of more than $70 million is reportedly still on track for an end-October opening. The park is located on a 100ha plot along National Road 6 in Kbon village, Khchas

  • Final verdicts for Khmer Rouge leaders ‘vital’ for next generation

    Nearly a decade after the commencement of Case 002/02 against Khieu Samphan back in 2014, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) is now set to deliver its final verdict for the former Khmer Rouge head of state. The Supreme Court Chamber of the ECCC,

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Defence minister reaffirms Kingdom’s staunch support for One-China policy

    Minister of National Defence General Tea Banh has reaffirmed Cambodia’s unwavering support for the One-China policy. Tea Banh was speaking at the September 20 ceremonial handover of 117 vehicles and other military equipment donated by China’s defence ministry, held at Phnom Chumreay International Military Training

  • Deaths due to ‘lifestyle’ diseases rise in Kingdom

    The Ministry of Health has called on people to pay closer attention to their health to protect themselves from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which it said have caused high rates of deaths in the country. Ministry secretary of state York Sambath made the call at a