PHNOM PENH —Cambodia has asked INTERPOL to investigate its allegations that Vietnam has repeatedly and knowingly accepted fraudulent permits for endangered luxury timber that is illegally logged across the border.
Stocks of Siamese Rosewood, a luxury wood that can fetch tens of thousands of dollars per cubic meter, have been decimated in Cambodia by a rapacious logging industry along the country’s border with Vietnam.
Letters compiled by Cambodia, in a submission to the United Nation’s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 2017, show senior government officials repeatedly implored Vietnam to take action.
In 2013 Cambodia banned the logging of Siamese Rosewood (Dalbergia Conchinchinensis) and subsequently told Vietnam that any CITES permit for the species was, as such, fraudulent, the submission shows.
“Vietnam, nevertheless, continued to allow the entry into the country of rosewood, repeatedly referencing CITES permits, notwithstanding that they had been previously informed on several occasions of the illegality of those permits,” wrote Ty Sokhun, the head of Cambodia’s CITES Management Authority, to the UN’s International Environment House in October 2017.
At a UN conference in 2016 “the Cambodia CITES delegation sought an independent investigation by INTERPOL of the relevant circumstances of the case,” he wrote in the letter objecting to Cambodia’s inclusion in a CITES review of significant trade.