More than 60 pieces of luxury timber were found hidden in a Vietnamese language association on Tuesday morning in Ratanakkiri province, with the owner claiming to be holding them for someone else.
“Looking at the facade of the house, it’s not possible to tell it is a place for trading timber, because it is used as a Vietnamese language school to teach youngsters of around five to six years of age,” the Boeung Kanseng commune police chief said.
The chief added that the Vietnamese association was a school combined with a restaurant, and there had never been any suspected trace of timber trade there until the timber was discovered.
According to the commune police, the facility belongs to Yort Hieng and the timber confiscated included both thnung and kranhoung wood.
Banlung town police chief Hout Borey said the 65 pieces of timber were equivalent to 2,088 cubic metres of wood.
Prosecutor Chea Pich, who led the operation, said the raid followed an investigation by the forestry administration.
“I allowed the forestry officials to check the house,” Mr Pich said. “The owner of the facility was not arrested. Actually, the Vietnamese association serves as a place to teach students and Ms Hieng said the wood belonged to someone else, who asked her to keep it there.”
Mr Pich added that Ms Hieng was being questioned to find the real owner of the timber.