RCAF timber truck drivers avoid arrest in Tbong Khmum

Source : The Phnom Penh Post / Tue, 14 June 2016 by

people_pose_for_a_photo_next_to_an_rcaf_truck_earlier_this_week_after_it_was_found_to_be_transporting_illegal_lumber_in_tbong_khmum_province_13_06_2016_supplied

People pose for a photo next to an RCAF truck earlier this week after it was found to be transporting illegal lumber in Tbong Khmum province. Photo supplied

The drivers of three Royal Cambodian Armed Forces trucks caught yesterday transporting first-grade timber in Tbong Khmum province escaped arrest.

Military police spokesman Eng Hy confirmed the vehicles were military and carrying first-grade timber, but he said the total size of the haul was yet to be established.

Tbong Khmum provincial police chief Mao Pov said the convoy was stopped in Ponhea Krek district as part of a “crackdown”, though he declined to discuss RCAF’s involvement.

Defence Ministry spokesman Chhum Socheat called it an “individual issue” that did not involve the military as an organisation. “We always instruct soliders in meetings and disseminate about this issue . . . but the individuals keep doing it . . . If it is true, we will instruct them and comply with law.”

Cambodia’s military has long faced allegations of involvement in the illegal timber trade.

Provincial court deputy prosecutor Hak Seak Lim, who has been handed the case, said he was yet to identify suspects or which unit the truck belonged to. “The economic police had stopped them . . . but the drivers had escaped,” he said.

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