Four Vietnamese Arrested for Pulling Up Stumps

Rangers patrolling the Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary in Mondolkiri province arrested four Vietnamese nationals caught removing the stumps of recently logged wood, provincial environment department director Keo Sopheak said on Tuesday.

In addition to stumps of luxury-grade Thnong wood, the four also were found on Monday with 10 logs of first-grade Phchoek and Sokrom trees recently felled in the forest in Koh Nhek district, Mr. Sopheak said.

“We arrested four Vietnamese people while they were cutting stumps of Thnong wood and Phchoek trees with three chainsaws at the Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary,” he said.

“The four Vietnamese people are now being held at the provincial environment department for questioning and we will create a document to send them to court on Thursday.”

Mr. Sopheak said three chainsaws and four motorbikes were seized from the illegal loggers, while the wood would be trucked out later.

The four are accused of illegally collecting forest products, which carries a penalty of five to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to 100 million riel, or about $25,000.

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