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Seven deny illegal logging

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times Share:
The suspects said they were not loggers. Supplied

Seven Vietnamese men went on trial yesterday charged with illegal logging and transporting luxury timber from protected forests in Mondulkiri province’s Keo Seima district.

Those accused were Ngor Tintieng, 34, Du Vanlin, 29, Hor Ngoc Ding, 30, Le Kongdai, 41, Ngor Anto, 28, Fang Ngoc Vang, 43, and Nguven Tongyung, 46.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court judge Ky Rithy said the seven crossed the border illegally in February to log the trees.

“They were arrested while they transported the timber from protected wildlife areas,” he said.

He said they were caught when military police with the National Committee for Forest Crime Prevention patrolled the areas.

After their arrests, police seized 145 logs, totalling about 200 cubic metres, of luxury wood.

Police also seized eight trucks, four motorbikes, two chainsaws and other items.

In court yesterday, the seven denied the allegations, saying they were not loggers but were mechanics.

They said that on the day of the raid, they were hired by a Cambodian-Vietnamese timber businessman to repair the trucks, which were out of order and parked in forest areas.

They were arrested there. All asked the judge to drop their charges and release them.

The verdict is due on November 22.

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