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Vietnam-bound trucks full of firewood seized

Authorities stand next to a truck in Tbong Khmum province yesterday after it was seized for illegal transportation of lumber. Photo supplied
Authorities stand next to a truck in Tbong Khmum province yesterday after it was seized for illegal transportation of lumber. Photo supplied

Vietnam-bound trucks full of firewood seized

Tbong Khmum provincial military police officers yesterday arrested six people and seized two trucks that were allegedly transporting firewood to Vietnam, according to gendarmerie spokesman Eng Hy.

Hy said the group was busted in the morning in Memot district’s Triek commune while headed for the border.

“[At this stage] we do not know how much wood, but the cars planned to go Vietnam on [September] 21 at about 2am. We have sent [the suspects] and the cars to the provincial Forestry Administration.”

Reached yesterday, Tbong Khmum provincial Forestry Administration chief Kim Chhunly said his office had received a report about the bust, saying it appeared the wood was being transported through the province but had been cut in Kratie province.

“We arrested them because they did not have permission [to transport the wood] . . . They will have to pay a fine and then we will release them.”

While the timber trade to Vietnam generally centres around luxury species that fetch high prices, smaller-scale logging for things like fuel has also been blamed for the Kingdom’s rampant deforestation.

The government announced a blanket ban on timber exports to Vietnam in January in a bid to stop smuggling, however, reports from activists and evidence including import data from Vietnam suggest the trade continues.

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