7 ARRESTED FOR PHAYUNG POACHING
CRIME: Authorities have arrested seven people allegedly involved in a network that poached protected phayung, or Siamese rosewood, trees in Buri Ram and nearby provinces.
The first suspect, Patipan Pase, 21, was apprehended during a raid at a house in tambon Nong Bon of Prakhon Chai district on Thursday, according to Provincial Police Region 3 commissioner Poolsap Prasertsak.
A big haul of phayung logs was found in a bush close to the house, Pol Lt Gen Poolsap said.
The arrest led to the apprehension of another six suspects.
He also said 22 people were believed to be associated with the syndicate.
A manhunt is under way for the remaining 15.
He said the group poached phayung in schools, temples and public parks at night in Buri Ram and nearby provinces.
A committee will be set up to probe whether state officials were involved.