Court Orders Chair To Pay Compensation

A Taiwanese businessman who headed a company accused of illegal logging in Koh Kong prov­ince’s Botum Sakor National Park has been ordered to pay compen­sa­­tion to two subcontractors, a court official said Tuesday.

Paul Yu, one-time chairman of Green Rich Co Ltd, was ordered by Koh Kong provincial court on May 9 to pay subcontractor Yung Hak $52,883 for cutting logs last year inside the protected area. He was also awarded an additional $25,000 in compensation.

A second subcontractor, Long Sreng, said Paul Yu was also or­dered to pay him $40,000 after the Taiwanese man failed to pay him for transporting timber from March 2004 to August 2004. He was also awarded $25,000 compensation.

“He didn’t pay me for using my trucks to transport timber,” Long Sreng said Tuesday.

A court official confirmed the two verdicts Tuesday, which were both rendered in absentia after Paul Yu failed to appear in court to defend himself.

“If Paul Yu does not pay, his properties can be confiscated and auctioned and he can be put in jail,” according to a copy of the verdict, dated May 10.

Neither Paul Yu, whose whereabouts are unknown, nor any other company representative could be reached for comment Tuesday.

In January, the Environment Min­­­istry charged Paul Yu, who was at that time identified as the company’s chairman, with breach of trust and harming the environment.

The company is also facing a $1 million lawsuit from the Environment Ministry for allegedly constructing a road without permission and cutting forest outside the company’s Koh Kong concession.

But confusion has reigned over the case as officials have gone back and forth trying to determine who was actually in charge of the company when the alleged for­estry crimes were committed.

Last month, the Commerce Ministry identified a Canadian na­tional, Lam Shuk Ching, who lives in Hong Kong, as director of the plantation company, but so far no char­ges have been filed against her.

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