The Mondolkiri Provincial Court has charged six Vietnamese nationals with logging and entering Cambodia illegally after they were caught last week attempting to drive back to Vietnam with a convoy of trucks loaded with contraband timber.
“I charged the six people on Sunday and they are now at the provincial prison,” court prosecutor Ya Narin said on Sunday.
Mr. Narin said a seventh man arrested with them, a Cambodian national, was released on the grounds that he was merely hired to drive one of the trucks.
The seven were arrested on Wednesday just before crossing into Vietnam through the O’houch border checkpoint with eight trucks carrying two to four logs each.
Authorities involved in the arrests said another two trucks in the same convoy had made it into Vietnam before they could be stopped.
The provincial environment department is investigating the possibility that border officials were colluding with the loggers.
Authorities said last week that the timber had been logged from the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary, a tropical forest spread over 292,690 hectares considered a species-rich, globally significant conservation area.
pheap@cambodiadaily.com
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