Officers targeted the location in Patort village for a second time. Supplied
Vietnam-bound timber seized
Khmer Times | 13 April 2017
Ratanakkiri provincial forces and military police yesterday seized 15 logs of luxury wood bound for export to Vietnam.
Provincial military police chief Kim Reaksmey said the haul was found when officers targeted the location in Patort village in Lumphat district for the second time.
The team confiscated more than 2,390 cubic meters of luxury wood from the same place in February.
Mr. Reaksmey said: “The wood was collected by traders to be exported to Vietnam, but we intercepted it just in time, following orders from military police commander-in-chief Sao Sokha.
“We don’t yet know the exact measurements of the logs, but our expert officers are working to calculate it.”
Police said the logs were likely taken from Lumphat wildlife protection area.
Ouch Leng, a forestry activist and president of the Cambodian Human Rights Task Force, said police must do more to stop illegal logging.
“These same forestry crimes have been happening for so long,” he said. “If police really want to prevent it, they must arrest the timber traders who sell to Vietnam and China.”
He argued the illegal wood trade is made possible by systemic corruption. “No one dares to arrest the traders because they would confess and implicate their business network,” he said.
“Corrupt government officials may be involved. These people never think to obey the law or consider long-term environmental impacts. They only think about money and the systematic corruption allows the authorities and traders to protect each other.”
Mr. Reaksmey insisted military police are searching to find those responsible for the latest seizure as part of wider efforts to stop forestry crimes.
In December, the government launched the National Commission to Prevent and Suppress Natural Resources Offenses.
More than 10 police and military officers in Mondulkiri province were last month summoned for questioning by the commission over a big corruption case involving illegal timber exports to Vietnam.