Police raided a guesthouse in Poipet City on Monday and arrested 23 men as they waited to be paid for illegally logging rosewood across Cambodia’s border with Thailand, police officials said.
Um Sophal, Poipet City police chief, said the men were arrested Monday following a tip-off that a gang of illegal loggers had gathered inside Kim Hong Guesthouse to wait for their employer, whom police have not yet identified.
“They were hired to cut the rosewood by a ringleader and were waiting for payment at the guesthouse,” he said.
Police detained the 23 to educate them about the dangers of logging luxury wood in Thailand—where Cambodians are routinely shot and killed by Thai soldiers—before releasing them.
“We arrested and then educated them in hopes of stopping them from logging rosewood from Thailand before releasing them back to their hometown,” Mr. Sophal said.
According to rights group Adhoc, 33 Cambodians were killed last year while logging in Thailand.