Rosewood Smugglers Arrested After Police Pursuit

Two men were arrested in Oddar Meanchey province on Tuesday after military police pursued their SUV from the nearby Thai border and found 51 pieces of rosewood in the back, officials said on Wednesday.

Mao Thea, 34, the driver, and Phan Phorn, 35, the passenger, were apprehended at about midday in the northwestern province’s Trapaing Prasat district, according to district military police commander Ly Darith.

“Military police patrolling near the Cambodian-Thai border suspected that their vehicle was smuggling rosewood and tried to stop it,” Mr. Darith said.

“But they didn’t stop, and we were forced to chase them,” he added, explaining that the 15-minute chase came to an end when the timber smugglers, traveling in a black Lexus SUV, stopped at a roadblock set up by military police.

“They confessed that they were smuggling rosewood” from Preah Vihear province, he said.

Khun Bunheng, head of the Forestry Administration’s Trapaing Prasat division, said 51 pieces of rosewood weighing a total of 501 kg were seized from the back of the Lexus.

He said the suspects were questioned at the Oddar Meanchey Provincial Court on Wednesday.

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