Banteay Meanchey provincial police have found 355 pieces of timber in an impounded petrol truck involved in a traffic accident last year.
Provincial police chief Ath Khem said the truck was impounded after it was involved in an accident with a motorbike that killed one and injured another. Police had kept the truck since May last year, because they suspected it was involved in illegal activities.
A thorough examination of the truck revealed the cache of rosewood timber.
“We cannot say anything about this case because we are still searching for the culprits, but it is hard since they fled the scene of the accident,” Mr Khem said.
He said the truck was parked on the sidewalk at night without any sign of warning, causing the fatal accident. The driver fled.
Soum Chankea, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said the transport of rosewood in the petrol truck was no surprise, because illegal wood traders always found new ways to smuggle their loot.
He added in some cases, local officials were involved and turned a blind eye for a bribe.
“The timber was probably transported by traders from Thailand through Cambodia to Vietnam, where it could fetch a very high price,” he said.
Mr Khem said police did not yet have a clear source of the rosewood, but he added that work on the case was still ongoing.