Four Arrested in Raids on Timber Warehouses

Four people were arrested and more than 1,000 pieces of illegally logged timber seized in Mondolkiri province during a coordinated series of raids on three warehouses over the past three days, an official said Sunday.

The operation, the result of a weeklong investigation, began on Friday when local police and Forestry Administration officials moved in on a warehouse in Koh Nhek district’s Sre Sangkum commune, where they found hundreds of rough-hewn logs cut from four species of luxury and first-grade trees, according to Keo Sopheak, deputy chief of the administration’s Mondolkiri cantonment.

Mr. Sopheak said authorities then arrested a man and his wife who owned the building, before conducting a similar raid on another warehouse in the same commune on Saturday and apprehending a second couple. On Sunday, he said, they busted a third warehouse full of illegally logged wood, but made no arrests.

He said more than 1,000 pieces of Beng, Neang Nuon, Thnong and Sokrom wood were seized from the first two warehouses and transported to the Forestry Administration’s headquarters in the province.

“We began moving the luxury wood from the first warehouse and the second warehouse on Friday and finished this morning, and started moving it from another warehouse,” he said, adding that he could not estimate the volume or value of the timber.

Mr. Sopheak declined to name the four people who were arrested on Friday and Saturday, but said they would be sent to the Mondolkiri Provincial Court tomorrow and charged with forestry crimes.

Police and court officials could not be reached for comment.

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