VIENTIANE, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Southern Lao province has seized over 10,000 cubic meters timber, illegally cut and exported to a "neighboring country" over the past year, local daily Vientiane Times on Monday quoted senior officials as saying.

Visien Navikoun, deputy provincial governor in charge of economic affairs of Salavan Province, said to Vientiane Times on Friday that his province has intensified efforts in preventing illegal logging and the trade in timber in a move to enforce the government's new measures to fight illegal logging and trade.

On May 13, Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith issued an order banning the export of all types of unfinished wood products and prohibits the removal or collection of wood from forests among other measures.

However, early in June, some timber traders attempted to export timber loaded on 10 trucks to a "neighboring country" through a border checkpoint in Salavan province, despite the government's ban, according to the report.   Salavan Province, some 670 km southeast of lao capital Vientiane,  borders Thailand by Mekong River without road connection in the west and Vietnam in the east.

Officials at the border gate stopped them and did not allow the shipment to cross the border, Visien said.

All the 10 trucks were from two southern Lao provinces and the traders in question "were granted official documents issued by high-ranking officials of the two provinces to facilitate the export, despite the government's ban," a Salavan official in charge of the inspection said.

The traders and officials justified their move to attempt to export the timber by saying that it was from tree plantation farms,  not from natural forests. Referring to the prime ministerial order that bans the export of all types of unfinished wooden products, Salavan provincial officials decided not to allow the trucks to pass the border gate, Visien said.

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith last week toured southern Salavan province and central Savannakhet province to push for strict enforcement of his order and guide socio-economic developments in the provinces.