Officials Attacked With Metal Pole After Seizing Wood

Forestry officials towing a car filled with 278 pieces of confiscated rosewood in Pursat province’s Bakan district were chased and attacked by a convoy of men wielding a metal pole on Saturday, according to an officer in the district’s anti-economic crime bureau.

Chea Kaliyan, who arrived at the scene soon after the attack, said the logs, which weighed a total of 633 kg, were seized in Veal Veng district after officials stopped a Toyota Camry suspected of carrying illegally logged wood.

The driver and passengers escaped on foot, he said.

Hours later, as Forestry Administration officials and a provincial military police officer were driving through Bakan district’s Snam Preah commune with the Camry in tow, a group of men driving two cars and a motorbike starting chasing the officials’ vehicle and smashed a side-view mirror with a metal pole, injuring the military police officer, he said.

“It was an act of attempted murder and interference,” Mr. Kaliyan said, adding that he believed the perpetrators were working for a “kingpin” in the provincial logging racket.

Provincial Forestry Administration officials could not be reached.

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