Trucks With Luxury-Wood Haul Crash Into Roadblock

Two large trucks carrying 60 cubic meters of luxury wood were confiscated on Saturday after their drivers unsuccessfully attempted to barge through a roadblock of cars set up by the Forestry Administration in Kompong Cham province, officials said.

The truck drivers, who were each transporting 30 cubic meters of thnong wood, crashed into two cars set up by nine forestry officials on National Road 71 in Chamkar Leu district, said provincial forestry administration chief Tim Sokhom.

“Two trucks were transporting luxury wood from Preah Vihear province across Kompong Thom but they were seized on National Road 71 in Chamkar Loeu on the way to smuggle it across the Vietnamese border,” Mr. Sokhom said Sunday.

Mr. Sokhom explained that the drivers of the two trucks had escaped on foot after they crashed into the blockade and had not attempted to take the trucks or their expensive hauls with them. “The drivers abandoned their trucks,” Mr. Sokhom said.

Chamkar Loeu district police chief Ith Dara said the crash occurred at about 8 p.m. on Saturday but said his forces were only at the roadblock in support of the Forestry Administration and had not been directly involved in the trucks’ confiscation.

According to Mr. Sokhom, the forestry officials, along with three district police officers, jumped from the cars before the trucks crashed into them and sustained only minor injuries.

One of the forestry officials, Yen Mao, only jumped out of the car moments before the crash, according to Mr. Sokhom.

“Mr. Mao jumped to escape from the car just in time,” Mr. Sokhom said. “If he was slower to jump, he may have been seriously injured by their trucks coming to crash into our cars.”

Both trucks and the 60 cubic meters of luxury wood are currently being held in Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo district, the forestry official said. He said authorities would soon begin an investigation into who had been shipping the wood.

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