Rosewood racket busted: Task force and national park collaborate to thwart illegal loggers in northern Thailand

Picture courtesy of KhaoSod.

The Phaya Sue Task Force, in collaboration with Huai Nam Dang National Park, apprehended a network involved in the illegal logging of rosewood in the Srai Ngam forest area, Pai district, Mae Hong Son province. The operation, which resulted in the seizure of a significant amount of evidence, was conducted on September 12.

Attapol Charoenchansa, who is acting on behalf of the Director-General of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, disclosed that the special operation unit for national park and wildlife protection (Phaya Sue) teamed up with Huai Nam Dang National Park to inspect and arrest offenders involved in illegal rosewood logging in the Sringam forest area. The area is within the conservation forest of Mae Na Teung, Pai district, Mae Hong Son province.

The seizure of ten sheets of rosewood logs was due to a discovery made on September 12, by Huai Nam Dang National Park officials in Chiang Mai. They found evidence of large-scale rosewood logging, including processing and smuggling operations in the area, reported KhaoSod.

Upon further inspection, a single cab pickup truck with the license plate number ผห 8441 Chiang Mai was found parked at the scene. The vehicle was laden with eight sheets of processed rosewood logs. The manner in which the logging was conducted suggested it was an operation possibly linked to an international rosewood logging network. This prompted an expansion of the investigation.

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The vehicle was owned by a man named Kasem (surname withheld), who resides at 145, Moo 10, Mae Na Teung, Pai District, Mae Hong Son Province. Upon visiting the said address, which is within the Huai Nam Dang National Park, officials in coordination with the village headman of Moo 10, Srai Ngam, inspected the premises and arrested Kasem.

Kasem confessed that the vehicle was his and acknowledged smuggling the processed logs, intending to use them for house repairs. However, he denied any involvement with the logging at the scene of the crime. The officials then conducted a search of the house and found two large processed rosewood logs. Kasem admitted that these were from the crime scene.

The forestry officials seized a total of ten sheets of rosewood logs, equivalent to 0.49 cubic metres. Kasem and the seized logs were taken to Pai Police Station for further legal action.

Attapol stated that this operation was a result of ongoing investigations into groups involved in the illicit logging of economically valuable trees in northern Thailand’s conservation forests. He ordered further tracking and arrests and an expansion of the operation to reach the financiers behind these logging operations. This will involve an aggressive approach to suppress and proactively handle these groups, leading to legal action against them.

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Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

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