Timber Tycoon Blasts Name-Dropping Illegal Loggers

Timber magnate Try Pheap’s eponymous company, the Try Pheap Group, on Thursday asked the government to clamp down on illegal lumber smugglers who the firm claims are using its name to evade arrest.

The group has a number of government-approved timber trade deals but has also been linked to a vast illegal logging operation carried out with the state’s approval—even complicity—by numerous reports and investigations, claims denied by both the government and the firm.

In a public statement, the company asks unspecified “authorities” to prosecute the alleged impostors and confiscate their vehicles.

“The company has seen that there are some bad people who traffic timber by illegal means by using the name of the Try Pheap Group to make authorities confused,” the statement says.

“It seriously hurts the company’s reputation.” The statement goes on to say that the group’s real trucks can be distinguished by their dark blue color and 1168 number plates.

When contacted Thursday, Try Pheap Group representatives declined to elaborate.

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said he had not seen the statement but added that the company ought instead to file specific complaints over individual instances of its name being misused.

“It cannot just appeal,” he said. “The company should file a complaint—who is doing it, where it happens.”

Earlier this month, the U.K.-based environmental watchdog group Global Witness released the results of a monthslong undercover investigation that found the Try Pheap Group was working with state agencies to ship vast amounts of illegally logged protected tree species to China.

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