Thai Loggers Suspected in Illegal Rosewood Seizure

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.

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