Police probe illegal tree felling in NE Thailand worth 1 million baht

Police last night revealed they are trying to get to the bottom of a conundrum after the illegal felling of state trees worth 1 million baht in the Isaan province of Nong Kai.

Officers from Tha Bor Police Station, and officials from the Tha Bor District Office, seized the expensive wood from a forest along Tha Bor – Baan Pue Road in the Mueng Tha Bor district of Nong Kai after being notified some workers were felling samanea saman trees in the area.

The 55 year old leader of the log workers, Date (surname reserved), denied they were doing anything illegal, claiming they were given a contract to cut down the trees by the Tha Bor Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA).

A Tha Bor PEA director, Somwang Krotlakam, admitted to police that they had asked locals in each community to maintain tree branches, as they sometimes destroy the power lines, but the department never sent any workers to cut down trees in the district.

The police also discovered that loggers were felling trees in other districts in the province too, including Baan Wan, Kok Korn, Nong Nang, Tha Bor, Nam Mong, and Kong Nang. Those workers claimed the same thing, that they were hired by the PEA.

Police took pictures of the workers’ ID cards as evidence in case they were proven to be timber thieves and let them go as they made further inquiries.

Samanea saman trees, or rain trees, aren’t on the prohibited list but the fact workers cut down trees owned by the state without permission violates the law.

The Superintendent of Tha Bor Police Station, Jamrus Chandaeng, told the media that officers would investigate further and collect more evidence.

Two trees were felled and cut into six separate logs when they stopped work in the Mueng Tha Bor district of Nong Kai. Five loggers were working at the scene.

A wood board made from a rain tree, sized 35 x 170 x 5 centimetres, costs about 4,200 baht. A dining table, 80 x 195 centimetres, costs 7,000 baht.

According to the police report, more than one million baht has been lost through timber thieves in Nong Kai province.

SOURCE: Khaosod

Crime News

Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at petch@thethaiger.com.

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