The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries denied that it had allowed the exports of luxury wood from Koh Kong province to Hong Kong.

The denial came after the Hong Kong Customs reportedly seized about 211 tonnes of logs from an endangered tree species from Cambodia between April 29 and May 5.

The ministry said it was investigating the case.

Minister Veng Sakhon said on May 13 that over the last few years, especially since he took office, he had prohibited wood from endangered trees to be sold and exported.

He said Prime Minister Hun Sen announced the suspension of exporting this type of wood to the international market years ago.

The minister noted that he had assigned Forestry Administration officials to determine how the logs were transported from the Kingdom.

“We are investigating this and I will announce the results later,” he said.

However, Sakhon could not give a time frame for the investigation as it depended on collaboration with all relevant parties.

The Dimsum Daily Hong Kong on May 5 reported that Hong Kong Customs had seized the shipment with an estimated market value of about HK$1.1 million ($142,000) from seven containers at the Kwai Chung Custom house Cargo Examination Compound and the Tsing Yi Customs Cargo Examination Compound.

This was the largest seizure of its type by Hong Kong customs over the past five years.

Through risk assessment, customs officers selected the containers that arrived in Hong Kong from Cambodia. Upon inspection, the shipment of logs was found inside the containers.