Six Vietnamese nationals were arrested on Wednesday afternoon in a Military Police raid that saw 30 officers confiscating at least 100 illegally felled trees and 10 logging vehicles from an economic land concession in Kratie province’s Snuol district near the border with Vietnam.
According to a statement posted to the Military Police’s Facebook page, the six Vietnamese are being detained at Kratie Provincial Military Police Station.
The Military Police post claims the ELC was granted to EN Investment in 2009 and extends over 6,450 hectares. A company named E Investment has a concession in the area, and describes itself on its website as “an environmentally sustainable agri-business” with a concession for cultivating rubber. Under the law, companies must be granted permission to clear the forest on an ELC.
“[We] arrested six Vietnamese people for colluding with E.N. Investment to secretly haul the logs across the Cambodia-Vietnam Border,” the Military Police statement reads.
Snuol District Governor Kong Kimny, however, and said the military confiscated only a “small amount” of timber. They arrested the Vietnamese, he said, only because their temporary work permits had expired, not because of illegal logging.
“The company had the right to clear for planting a rubber plantation,” he said.
He claimed that the company had collected the timber so that experts could measure and properly tax it, although photographs posted to Facebook showed the wood already loaded onto trucks.