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Vietnam timber smugglers given jail sentence

Vietnamese nationals convicted for forest crimes walk out with one year of prisonment for illegal timber trading in Mondulkiri province.
Vietnamese nationals convicted for forest crimes walk out with one year of prisonment for illegal timber trading in Mondulkiri province. Photo supplied

Vietnam timber smugglers given jail sentence

Seven Vietnamese nationals who are tied to a timber smuggling ring along with top Mondulkiri provincial officials were sentenced to one year in prison yesterday.

Handing down the verdict at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Judge Ky Rithy said the “court decided to sentence them to one year in jail each and a fine of 50 million riel [about $12,400] for the charge of illegally transporting forestry products”.

The seven are being held at Mondulkiri Provincial Prison and were sentenced in absentia. They were arrested in February for possession of 145 logs, sparking a National Police probe that has linked more than a dozen police, Military Police and army officials to a Vietnamese smuggling network. No other charges have been brought in connection with the case.

The sentence comes after an October hearing at the municipal court during which all seven defendants denied the accusations, claiming they were simply repairing the trucks used to transport the timber.

Former Mondulkiri Provincial Military Police Commander Sak Sarang – who has since been transferred to the same position in Kampong Chhnang – was summonsed for questioning related to the case last week.

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