A military officer, who is also a local journalist, was arrested on Sunday for allegedly transporting luxury timber without authorisation from Preah Vihear province to the Vietnamese border in Tbong Khmum province.
Som Vibol, deputy chief of the penal police unit in Tbong Khmum, identified the 37-year-old suspect as Second Lieutenant Suos Nai, a military officer based in Preah Vihear province.
Mr Vibol said Lt Nai also worked as a journalist for the Serei Pheap Khmer (Khmer Liberty) newspaper, which is based in Preah Vihear province.
He said that on Sunday at about 3pm, Lt Nai drove a Toyota Camry through a district police checkpoint near the Cambodian-Vietnamese border in Dar commune in Tbong Khmum province’s Memot district.
Police were suspicious about his vehicle and upon inspection, found and seized 300 kilograms of rosewood as well as his press and military ID cards, he added.
“He was arrested with evidence after police seized so many pieces of rosewood from his car,” he said.
“He aimed to transport the rosewood to sell at the Vietnamese border.”
Mr Vibol added the suspect and his car along with the rosewood were handed over to the provincial forestry administration in Tbong Khmum province.
A provincial forestry administration official, who asked not to be named, said yesterday the suspect was preliminarily accused with transporting and buying luxury timber without authorisation. He faces from one to three years in prison if convicted.
He added the suspect was still being temporarily detained at the provincial forestry administration and would be sent to Tbong Khmum Provincial Court for questioning this morning.