Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tycoon denies timber accusations in Mondulkiri

Tycoon denies timber accusations in Mondulkiri

Tycoon denies timber accusations in Mondulkiri

After ignoring summonses for two months, a prominent timber tycoon accused of illegally trading luxury-grade wood in Mondulkiri province appeared at court to deny his involvement in the case.

Investigating Judge Suy Sophea said Soeng Sam Ol, who holds the honorific of oknha, appeared for questioning this month. The judge said yesterday he believed Sam Ol was not involved in the case.

“The case was sent to court, but it does not involve him whatsoever,” he said, declining to provide further details.

Sam Ol was summonsed on October 12 to testify after the authorities’ anti-logging task force found and seized 60,000 cubic metres of timber in Keo Seima district’s Chong Plas commune, in Mondulkiri, at the beginning of the year. About 20,000 cubic metres of timber seized in the bust belonged to the Dai Than Company, chaired by Sam Ol.

The oknha stayed away from court for two months, claiming he had a health issue.

In his call to crack down on illegal timber schemes, Prime Minister Hun Sen called out Sam Ol and fellow Oknha Lim Bunna after the bust came to light in January.

Environmental activist and Goldman Environmental Prize winner Ouch Leng urged the court to take the premier’s message as further evidence to question Sam Ol, rather than drop the case based on the tycoon’s testimony.

“If the court does not take measures, it means that it does not respect our leader,” Leng said. “The witnesses are the top persons like Military Police commanders and the prime minister . . . Prime minister ordered them to fire the rockets on the oknha.”

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro