Soldier Walks Free After Police Find Illegal Wood

Local authorities in Oddar Meanchey province on Saturday confiscated more than 220 pieces of illegally logged wood found inside and nearby a warehouse owned by a local military officer, but have decided not to arrest or prosecute him.

Kul Phoeun, deputy police chief for Banteay Ampil district, said Sunday that district police and forestry officials discovered 130 pieces of first-grade Traseik logs inside a warehouse belonging to Lon Sopheap, a Royal Cambodian Armed Forces officer, and another 95 logs of luxury-grade Thnong timber in the forest about 100 meters away from the building, beyond the boundaries of Mr. Sopheap’s land.

“We confiscated the wood [in the warehouse] and we are keeping it, along with the other 95 logs, at the district Forestry Administration office,” he said.

Mr. Phoeun said Mr. Sopheap —whose rank and unit he claimed not to know—was not at the warehouse when authorities arrived     to confiscate the wood, but that police had decided not to arrest him because his wife, who was at the scene at the time, put up no resistance.

“We did not see Mr. Sopheap at the warehouse, but his wife told us that her husband was keeping the wood to build a house,” he said. “We have no plans to arrest Mr. Sopheap because they did not prevent our authorities for confiscating the wood.”

Mr. Phoeun said authorities were still searching for the owner of the 95 logs found near the warehouse, which they suspect belong to someone else.

Neither Mr. Sopheap nor his wife could not be reached for comment.

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