Kalasin mystery of missing Rosewood logs leads to investigation of officials and illegal logging networks

Picture courtesy of KhaoSod.

Seven logs of Rosewood, worth over 1 million baht, have mysteriously disappeared from Kalasin’s Itue municipality office. Amidst the controversy, six state officials are reportedly involved, though they deny any wrongdoing. Meanwhile, illegal logging continues unabated in the region, notably at Khumhaiwitthaya School in Nong Kung Si district, where a broker was allowed to cut down 22 Rosewood trees and two larger trunks for a mere 153,000 baht (US$4,400), significantly below the market price.

The incident led to a disciplinary and criminal investigation by the Anti-Corruption Commission, the Royal Thai Police, and the Internal Security Operations Command. The Kalasin Police are also pursuing the brokers who bought the school’s Rosewood. The Office of Basic Education Commission further ordered the Director of Kalasin Area 2 Education to explain.

The Director of the Treasury Department denied that the local treasury office had permitted the felling of Rosewood at Khumhaiwitthaya School for fundraising purposes. On-site inspections at the school by Jirawat Suphap, Director of Zone 4’s Anti-Corruption Commission (Khon Kaen), and Pairat Pajchawong, Director of Zone 4’s Anti-Corruption Operation Centre, revealed that 17 trees had already been cut, leaving just five and two larger trunks.

The inspection team questioned the valuation of the trees at 153,000 baht, whether it was fair and why the trees needed to be cut. They also examined whether the process followed the relevant rules and regulations, reported KhaoSod.

Regarding the case of the missing seven logs of Rosewood from the Itue municipality office, Thawatchai Rodngam, Deputy Governor of Kalasin, who oversees natural resources, and Ekgrat Misah, District Chief of Yang Talad, followed up on the case with the investigators from Nong Sung Police Station. They learned that the case had been forwarded to the Kalasin Anti-Corruption Commission.

Thawatchai said that any official found involved in illegal logging or granting permission for logging in state areas would face disciplinary, criminal, and civil proceedings without any exceptions. As for the case of the missing Rosewood, the investigators, upon questioning, found that the case had been forwarded to the Kalasin Anti-Corruption Commission since August 21. Preliminary investigations suggested the involvement of six officials. The Anti-Corruption Commission would soon begin its investigations to bring the culprits to book.

On the other hand, Kalasin’s Special Forest Operations Unit Chief, Adisorn Kongsomgan, said illegal logging of Rosewood and protected trees in the province continued to occur daily.

The authorities could only seize the illegally logged wood, tools, and equipment. The culprits escaped every time. The problem pointed to the existence of multiple illegal logging networks in the area.

Most recently, last night, a group of offenders was spotted logging in the Don Ra Nang National Forest Reserve in Nong Lom Subdistrict, Yang Talad District, Kalasin Province.

The culprits, whose number is unknown, fled the scene. The authorities seized six logs of Eucalyptus, five logs of Teak, six logs of Burma Padauk, and a rubber wheel cart, totalling 30,728 baht (US$878) in damages. The seized items were then handed over to Yang Talad Police Station for further legal proceedings.

Thailand News

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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