Cops seize truck, make large Burmese rose­wood bust


AYUTTHAYA: Author­i­ties yes­ter­day seized a 10-wheel truck loaded with pricey il­le­gal Burmese rose­wood.

The driver was ar­rested for al­leged in­volve­ment in il­le­gal log­ging as he was de­liv­er­ing 15 cu­bic me­tres of pro­cessed rose­wood from the North to Ayutthaya, the Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Parks, Wildlife and Plant Con­ser­va­tion said.

Pongsakorn Jarn­nok, 40, is a Sa Ket na­tive. Ac­cord­ing to tes­ti­mony to po­lice, it was his third de­liv­ery. He told po­lice he was hired for 25,000 baht for each trip.

He iden­ti­fied his co­or­di­na­tor as a man named Prawit, who han­dled the pay­ment, and im­pli­cated a lo­cal politi­cian in Ut­tara­dit prov­ince as the master­mind.

Depart­ment spokesman Som­pot Ma­neerat said the rose­wood (Pte­ro­car­pus macro­carpu) was seized on the Bang Pa­han-Pathum Thani Road. The ship­ment was es­ti­mated to be worth 3 mil­lion baht but the re­tail ex­port price would be as high as 10 mil­lion baht.

Mr Som­pot said the wood was be­lieved to have been il­le­gally logged in the North and was des­tined for a fac­tory in a cen­tral prov­ince.

The depart­ment’s di­rec­tor-gen­eral Thanya Netitham­makun said the net­work made no at­tempt to dis­guise it as le­gal prod­uct, which sug­gests it op­er­ates with­out fear of the law.

“In most cases, smug­glers would make a mark on the wood to fool the author­i­ties dur­ing de­liv­ery. This net­work didn’t try to con­ceal the wood at all,” he said.

Mr Thanya said the driver faces charges of il­le­gal pos­ses­sion, smug­gling and trad­ing of pro­tected wood, but would be treated as a state wit­ness if he helps author­i­ties crack down on the net­work’s op­er­a­tion.

Of­fi­cials in­spect pro­tected Burmese rose­wood on a lorry seized in Ayutthaya’s Muang district yes­ter­day morn­ing.

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