Authorities in Oddar Meanchey province seized more than 400 kg of rosewood they found in the forest near the Thai border on Tuesday morning after locals reported seeing loggers in the area, a police official said.
The 33 pieces of luxury-grade rosewood, weighing 416 kg in total, were found stockpiled in a wooded area of the Dangrek Mountains in Trapaing Prasat district on Tuesday morning, according to acting district police chief Se Inkay.
“We got a report from local people who said they saw a group of loggers carrying rosewood in that area,” he said, adding that 44 officials from the district police, district military police and local Forestry Administration division cooperated to locate and secure the valuable haul.
“I think the rosewood was illegally logged in Thailand because in our area, there is no rosewood now,” Mr. Inkay said, noting that the timber appeared to be freshly cut.
He said the wood was being kept at the district police station while authorities investigate its source.
“So far, we don’t know who owns the wood, but we suspect that the loggers were keeping it here, waiting for dealers to buy it from them,” he said.
Most of Cambodia’s rosewood trees have been wiped out by illegal loggers to meet soaring international demand for the timber, which can fetch thousands of dollars per cubic meter.