Ratanakkiri provincial authorities have seized hundreds of logs and three trucks full of wood from the Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary and are investigating the possible involvement of a nearby rubber plantation, officials said on Sunday.
Provincial military police, Lumphat district officials and forestry administration staff inspected the site on Saturday and found 308 logs of second-grade wood and three trucks full of plywood, said district governor Nou The.
“Our officials are now collecting the wood in preparation to transport it to be kept at the provincial forestry administration” headquarters, said provincial military police commander Kim Raksmey.
Authorities are now investigating the wood’s connection to a nearby economic land concession belonging to Cambodian rubber plantation Y Songly Makot Pich, Mr. The said.
“We saw the logs everywhere in the wildlife sanctuary next to the economic land concession of the company,” he said. If the company did not claim the haul, the timber would be confiscated, he added.
Mr. The said he could not yet say whether the wood had been logged from inside the sanctuary.
Kep Koth, director of the forestry administration’s Ratanakkiri cantonment, said he didn’t know what kind of wood had been found, but confirmed that it would be kept with the forestry administration as investigations proceeded.
Despite being classified as “second-grade” timber in Cambodia, one sought-after variety, known locally as Sokrom and internationally as pyinkado and prized as a strong wood to use for construction, currently retails on online global wholesale marketplace Alibaba for about $800 per cubic meter.
pheap@cambodiadaily.com
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