The government seized more than 7,000 cubic meters of illegally logged wood last year, according to a report released by the Ministry of Agriculture on Thursday.
Only seven people were jailed for forestry crimes in the year, the report states, with 1,754 cubic meters of illegally felled logs and 5,617 cubic meters of sawn wood being confiscated, including 117 cubic meters of endangered luxury rosewood.
Hean Vanhorn, deputy director of the ministry’s statistics department, said halting the plundering of forests is a complex task due to the sheer number of illegal loggers.
“There are so many small businesspeople illegally logging, so we cannot prevent it all,” said Mr. Vanhorn.
“In the report it says there are only seven in prison but this is because we advised and warned most people rather than sending them to jail; however, in 2015 we will stop being so forgiving,” he said.
By law, all seized wood is supposed to be put up for auction.
However, there is no sign of the auctions being held, and for the past few years the rights to the wood have largely gone to timber magnate Try Pheap, who makes millions of dollars in profits from sales.