Courts charge Stung Treng men for transporting illegal timber

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Stung Treng provincial police found nearly 200 pieces of beng timber and 50 bags of strychnine grains hidden within a bus on Sunday. FACEBOOK

Stung Treng provincial police on Sunday sent one of seven men detained over the transportation of illegal timber to court.

Provincial police chief Mao Dara said the Vietnamese man was sent to the provincial court after being accused of transporting nearly 200 pieces of beng timber (Afzelia xylocarpa) and 50 bags of strychnine grains hidden within a bus.

“We handed over the timber, vehicles and the grain as evidence to the Forestry Administration. We sent the Vietnamese driver of the bus to court because he committed the crime and confessed to having hidden the timber,” Dara said.

A provincial police report noted the man was arrested on Saturday along with six others in Sesan district’s Phluk commune while they attempted to cross into Vietnam via the O’Yadav International Checkpoint in Ratanakkiri province.

The other six were released after the authorities determined that they were just innocent bus passengers.

Stung Treng Provincial Court spokesman Chhum Seanghak said he could not provide an update on the case.

In a separate illegal logging case, Kampong Thom Provincial Court placed a man in pre-trial detention on Friday.

The 27-year-old accused was arrested on January 15 in Taing Kouk district’s Chra Neang commune in connection with transporting sokrom timber (Xylia xylocarpa) in three trucks from Preah Vihear province.

Kampong Thom Provincial Court prosecutor Ith Sothea said on Sunday that a provincial judge had decided to charge and detain the accused.

“We decided to detain him in the provincial prison. But I don’t remember what all the charges were but there were three counts. One was for faking a vehicle number plate.”

Kampong Thom provincial military police reported last week that authorities seized 89 pieces of sokrom timber as evidence during the operation. Two other suspects escaped.