Seven Vietnamese nationals were arrested during a timber bust on Wednesday when Mondulkiri authorities intercepted eight trucks loaded with illegal timber in the Keo Seima protected area.
National military police spokesman Eng Hy said that authorities seized 145 logs of luxury wood that had been illegally harvested in the conservation area, totalling about 200 cubic metres. “They will be interrogated by military police on Friday, and our authorities plan to send them to Mondulkiri Provincial Court for further procedures,” Hy said yesterday.
Hy added that authorities briefly detained five Cambodians with chainsaws in the protected area the same day, but released them with a warning.
Keo Sopheak, director of the Mondulkiri environment department, said the Vietnamese men illegally crossed the border to log trees in the protected area.
“The Vietnamese people will face the charge of illegal logging in a protected area and the collection of timber without a licence according to articles 62 and 63 of the Natural Resources Protection Law,” Sopheak said.
In a separate case, also on Wednesday, forestry officials confiscated 446 pieces of luxury wood from the property of Srekor commune police chief Thay Sun Y, though Sun Y yesterday professed to know nothing about the wood.
“I have been studying away from home for a few months, therefore I do not know anything . . . [My wife] told me that the wood was placed there by somebody else a few days ago,” he said.
Neither Sun Y nor his wife have been charged.