Court Seeking General’s Arrest in Timber Trafficking Case

The Kompong Speu Provincial Court has issued arrest warrants for a military police general and his son-in-law who were charged with timber trafficking last month, officials said on Thursday.

Lieutenant General Chheng Long, a deputy chief of staff to provincial military police commander Chou Sarun, was charged with collecting and transporting timber without a license on March 13, days after authorities raided his timber warehouse in Chbar Mon City. Authorities found a truck loaded with unlicensed timber inside the warehouse and seized it, along with another truck seized the day before as it left the warehouse stacked with timber.

The general’s son-in-law, Sy Sar, was charged the same day.

On Thursday, provincial court prosecutor Keo Sothea said Investigating Judge Soeung Vuthy had ordered their arrests.

“The court issued the arrest warrants a few days ago and we are now looking for the suspects,” Mr. Sothea said before hanging up.

Chbar Mon City military police commander Thy Chhay said he was not aware of the arrest warrants, but acknowledged receiving orders from the provincial military police commander to report immediately if he sees Lt. Gen. Long or Mr. Sar.

He said he had not seen either man since the raid on the warehouse last month.

Dy Nan, chief of the Kandorl Dom commune where Lt. Gen. Long lives in a three-story mansion next to his warehouse, also said he had not seen the pair since the raid.

The provincial military police commander, Lt. Gen. Long’s boss, hung up on a reporter.

Authorities seized 54.3 cubic meters of wood from the two trucks, including 484 pieces of luxury-grade Thnong wood, one of the rarest and most precious species in Cambodia. A truck driver, Yim Sokphearom, and manager, Tao Chinton, were arrested on March 11 and 12, respectively.

A timber trading business is registered in the name of Lt. Gen. Long’s daughter, Long Sreyneang. But Ms. Sreyneang appeared to know little about the business’s operations when reporters interviewed her at her father’s house last month.

Authorities claim that the warehouse also belongs to Ms. Sreyneang. But property records show that the house and warehouse both belong exclusively to Lt. Gen. Long and his wife.

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