A 39-year-old man was sent to the Oddar Meanchey Provincial Court on Wednesday for operating a timber-processing facility in Trapaing Prasat district’s Trapaing Prasat commune without a permit.
Provincial environment department director Phuong Lina said 14 cubic metres of timber was seized from the makeshift workshop.
“We arrested him on Tuesday. His case is being handled by the court and the timber is being retained at the Kulen Promtep environment bureau,” he said.
A report published on the National Military Police website said local authorities led by the provincial court deputy prosecutor raided the facility on Tuesday and confiscated 316 pieces of first-grade timber totaling 14.06 cubic metres.
In a similar case in Kampong Chhnang province, Forestry Administration officers raided four timber-processing facilities in Teuk Phos district’s Tuol Khpos commune and seized four cubic metres of wood.
Provincial Forestry Administration director Thorng Vanvy Ravuthy said the workshops, which processed wood to make furniture, were operating without a licence.
Officers planned to raid six other workshops, Vanvy Ravuthy said, declining to disclose their locations.
“The owners of those furniture-making workshops have already escaped, leaving behind timber and machines used to produce furniture. We are retaining the wood and machines as evidence at the provincial Forestry Administration. The owners will be held accountable,” he said.
Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries director Ngin Hun told The Post on Tuesday that authorities had launched a series of clampdowns on timber-processing facilities and will continue to hunt down the perpetrators.
“The authorities are working on it. We will pursue our crackdowns. Most timber that they used to make furniture are from Pursat and Kampong Speu provinces. There is no wood in Kampong Chhnang province to process,” he said.
Speaking to ann.com.kh on Wednesday, a man and his son who claimed to own one of the furniture-processing workshops that was raided, said they had operated the facility for two years with a permit from the district Forestry Administration.
The son, who only gave his first name as Vanna, alleged that the raid came even after he paid 600,000 riel ($150) to commune police.
Contact for the commune police station could not be found on Wednesday.