Vietnamese Logging Suspects Charged in R’kiri

The Ratanakkiri Provincial Court has charged eight Vietnamese nationals with illegal logging and unlawful entry into Cambodia, and placed them in provisional detention.

“The investigating judge, Kung Taing Meng, charged them today,” the court spokesman, Keo Pisuth, said on Tuesday.

Local police were tipped off to the loggers while carrying out a routine labor inspection on Saturday of a nearby rubber plantation owned by a Vietnamese company and arrested the eight men, while a few others escaped.

They were surrounded by cut pieces of Phchoek, Sokrom and Sralao wood, all first-grade species.

Mr. Pisuth declined to say whether authorities were investigating the possibility that Cambodian authorities were colluding with the loggers to help them get in and out of the country.

“We cannot tell you the details; it is a court secret,” he said.

In an unrelated case in Mondolkiri province, the police chiefs of two border checkpoints were recently suspended from their jobs on suspicion that they were helping Vietnamese loggers enter Cambodia illegally and leave with their illicit timber cargo.

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