The Siem Reap provincial Forestry Administration’s (FA) mobile team and local officials in Chi Kraeng district seized four charcoal trailers at the intersection of National Road 6 in Kok Thloak Krom commune on May 3 for transporting it across the provincial border.

Provincial FA director Mong Bunlim told The Post on May 3 that during the operation, officers confiscated 617 bags containing 12,340kg of charcoal and were retaining it at the FA’s district cantonment.

Bunlim said that after a thorough investigation, it was determined that the four trailers had crossed the provincial border into neighbouring Kampong Thom. Nevertheless, officials did not arrest the drivers as it is not required by law.

He said that in such cases, the authorities allow time for the owner of the seized goods to report and pay the legal fines.

“We stopped these trailers because their charcoal was not for use in the province but for others. Under the law, they must be fined if not arrested,” he said.

Bunlim said that the operation was carried out by the Sotr Nikum and Chi Kreng district cantonments in cooperation with Tikchobb Khnar Pou Community Forest committee, Khnar Por commune council and local authorities.

Separately on the night of May 2-3, a joint police force confiscated four trucks that were transporting timber from the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary in Mondulkiri province and retained them pending further action.

During the operation, police seized 19 pieces of luxury timber, two sport utility vehicles and two trucks. The perpetrators escaped.

Rangers at the Chambok sub-headquarters said the team had been stepping up efforts to crack down on forest crimes, but there are still offenders who seek to profit from the country’s natural resources.