A Major Crackdown on Rosewood Illegal Logging in Mae Hong Son Province
In a joint raid conducted by the Phaya Sue Task Force along with the Huai Nam Dang National Park team, a significant illegal logging operation of highly coveted rosewood was busted in the Srai Ngam forest area of Pai district, located in Mae Hong Son province. This successful raid, encompassing sizeable seizures, took place on September 12.
Filling in for the Director-General of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation, Attapol Charoenchansa revealed the operations’s details. A special unit dedicated to the protection of national parks and wildlife, known as Phaya Sue, joined efforts with the Huai Nam Dang National Park to inspect and apprehend those involved in the illicit rosewood logging within the Sringam forest premises. This area, nestled within the conservation forest of Mae Na Teung, Pai district, is part of the Mae Hong Son province.
Huai Nam Dang National Park officials in Chiang Mai, on a mission on September 12, came across ten boards of Rosewood logs believed to be part of major logging operations. These operations, KhaoSod reported, included large-scale rosewood logging along with processing and smuggling within the area. The officials also found a single cab pickup truck (ผห 8441 Chiang Mai registered) filled with eight boards of processed rosewood logs, parked at the very scene. This discovery led them to believe that an international rosewood logging network could be controlling the logging operation. As a result, the investigation process was expanded.
The pickup truck belonged to a resident of 145, Moo 10, Mae Na Teung, Pai District, Mae Hong Son Province named Kasem. At his house, located within Huai Nam Dang National Park’s territory, officials joined hands with the village headman of Moo 10, Srai Ngam. They inspected Kasem’s premises, subsequently arresting him. Kasem confessed owning the vehicle and admitted smuggling the processed logs with an intent to utilize them for house repairs. However, he denied any part in the actual logging process seen at the crime site.
Following a thorough search of Kasem’s house, officials found two more voluminous processed rosewood logs. Kasem conceded to these logs being obtained from the crime scene, totalling the seized rosewood logs to ten, measuring up to 0.49 cubic meters. As per protocol, Kasem was taken into custody at the Pai Police Station, along with the confiscated logs, for further legal proceedings.
Reflecting on the operation, Attapol conveyed that the operation stemmed from continuous probe into groups partaking in the unlawful logging of economically valuable trees within the sanctuary forests in northern Thailand. He called for more arrests and expansion of the operation to capture financiers fuelling these illegal logging operations. A proactive, aggressive approach had been proposed to suppress these groups, potent enough to prompt legal retaliation against them.