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Large illegal timber haul seized in Kampong Thom

PAV SUY / Khmer Times Share:
The luggage compartments were filled with luxury timber. Supplied

Police and forestry officials in Kampong Thom province arrested one man and seized a stash of illegal luxury timber from a bus after a short, high-speed chase yesterday.

Santuk district deputy military police chief Neth Chan Sopheap said that his forces were invited to join the operation by the forestry administration.

“It was at about 1am,” he said. “The bus was speeding fast. We chased it a short distance demanding that the driver stop, which he eventually did.”

“The bus was stashed with more than three cubic metres of timber, including Sokrom and Thnung wood,” he added.

Mr Sopheap said the bus was travelling from Preah Vihear province to Phnom Penh, and was pulled over in Kampong Thmor commune. Two or three people on the bus escaped, but the driver, Pil Roeun, 44, was arrested.

“I don’t know about how forestry administration officials were tipped off, but they knew the bus was carrying illegal timber,” Mr Sopheap said.

Kampong Thmor forestry administration chief Sot Mary declined to comment on how his forces knew about the haul. “We have our network that gave us a tip-off,” he said. “The driver is still being questioned and we are preparing a case to send him to court.”

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