Customs officials in Banteay Meanchey province seized hundreds of kilograms of timber from cart pullers at the Poipet International Border Checkpoint on Wednesday night.
Huy Socheat, chief of customs and excise at the checkpoint, said the cart pullers were impersonating ordinary vendors.
“They were pulling carts with timber hidden beneath vegetables and shoes across the border from Thailand,” he said.
Mr Socheat said the crackdown was the result of a months-long investigation into new tactics used by timber smugglers. “Our undercover networks had been monitoring the activity and spotted them yesterday.
“We could not arrest the pullers, who were likely hired by timber traders. They escaped when they saw our forces,” he said.
“When we stopped and seized the first cart, the others panicked and ran away, leaving the timber behind.”
Mr Socheat could not confirm how much timber was seized, but local media said it was about 400 kilograms. “We have sent the case to court and prepared all the necessary documents according to customs procedures,” he added.
Provincial court spokesman Sok Keobandith said two carts had been busted, containing more than 50 pieces of luxury kranhoung wood.