Timber thieves’ tumble: Thai police bust illegal logging gang in 33 million baht raid

Picture courtesy of Bangkok Post.

In a daring crackdown on timber thieves’ crime, Thai police stormed a deforestation gang’s hideout in central Thailand, arresting one woman while four suspects managed to escape. The operation followed the discovery of illegal wood logs valued at approximately 33 million baht hidden in a warehouse in Phetchabun by officials from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation.

Panatchakorn Potibandit, director of the preventive and suppression strategy unit at the Forest Protection and Fire Control Office, revealed that a team of specialised rangers carried out the warehouse raid to arrest the timber thieves. Their search unveiled a cache of 30 Narra logs, with nine of them traced back to the forest reserve of Phu Soi Dao National Park in Uttaradit province. Alongside the Narra logs, officials also uncovered 50 pieces of Burmese rosewood timber, 51 Burmese rosewood logs, and 59 more Narra timbers.

It is believed that these valuable illicit wood resources, collectively worth 33 million baht, were the ill-gotten gains of a timber thieves gang. Their cunning strategy involved hoarding the wood in the warehouse before attempting to smuggle it to neighbouring countries.

To bring the timber thieves to justice, officials swiftly filed a report against the owner of the warehouse, and an extensive investigation is currently underway to track down the associates of this unlawful operation.

In a separate incident, over the weekend, police from Thep Sathit Police Station and officials from the Forest Resource Management Office in Chaiyaphum province conducted a decisive raid on a deforestation gang’s hideout.

This particular timber thieves gang had been ruthlessly cutting Narra trees in Ban Huai Hin Fon of tambon Na Yang Klak in Thep Sathit district. During the operation, five suspects were encountered, and although four managed to evade capture, one woman, a 40 year old local from Chaiyaphum named Saifon, was arrested. She was found in possession of an electric chainsaw, raising questions about the financiers behind the illicit activities.

Furthermore, authorities discovered more than 60 large Narra logs in various stages of processing, hinting at the extent of the gang’s illicit activities. It has been alleged that this group was involved in transporting these illegally sourced logs to foreign customers, suggesting a vast and intricate network of timber trafficking.

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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