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Police seize illegal timber used to build Phuket resort

Police seize illegal timber used to build Phuket resort

PHUKET: Police from the Natural Resources and Environmental Crimes Suppression Division raided and seized illegal timber found stacked behind a resort located near Laem Krathing, north of Nai Harn.

By Eakkapop Thongtub

Wednesday 23 February 2022, 10:09AM

The man who claimed to legally own the timber is asked to point at the illegal timber seized, which was being used to build residence buildings at the resort. Photo: Supplied

The man who claimed to legally own the timber is asked to point at the illegal timber seized, which was being used to build residence buildings at the resort. Photo: Supplied

The officers seized the illegal lumber at a no-name resort located behind Laem Krating, in Moo 2, Soi Laem Mum Nok, Karon.

Although Laem Krating is geographically close to Nai Harn, which is in Rawai Subdistrict, the popular peninsula in administrative terms is located within the boundaries of Karon Subdistrict.

The timber was seized in a raid last at midday Saturday (Feb 19), officials have now reported.

The timber seized was being used to build residence buildings at the site, the officers noted.

The man who claimed to own the illegal timber, whose name was not reported by the police, initially told officers that the timber was legal and that had documented evidence.

However, the officers reported that further investigation did not find any documents that confirmed the timber was legally owned as claimed.

“The police have taken a picture of the man with the seized lumber as evidence and forwarded the matter to the office of the Royal Forest Department in Karon Subdistrict for further investigation," the CSD officers noted in their report.

Residents in the area said that a 10-wheeled truck made several deliveries of timber to the resort before the officers came to investigate.

Royal Forest Department officials had already made arrests and seized illegal timber in the area in 2019, police noted in their report.

The case was prosecuted as Criminal Case No. 8022562/2019, Asset Seizure Case No. 118/2019, the report added.

"At that time, two suspects were arrested, one a former army officer with the rank of Police Lieutenant Colonel  and the other a business owner who lived in the Karon area," the CSD officers noted.

The CSD officers in their latest report said the raids on illegal timber were the result of neglect by forest officials since 2019.

“On Oct 30, 2019, the Forest Resources Office 12, Krabi branch, seized illegal timber and ordered prosecution according to its authority and reported [the case] to [their] Director-General, but the case was ignored until a new director took office,” their report noted.

“The new director also issued a letter on August 20, 2019 requesting further investigation of forest encroachment, If an offense is found, the seizure must be carried out and proceeded under Section 25,” the report continued.

“But forest officials in the area again ignored the order”, the officers stated.

“The task force officers [who conducted the raid last Saturday] therefore went to the area to inspect this time and were able to seize the illegal lumber,” the report said.

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JohnC | 24 February 2022 - 09:21:15

Sadly in this country anyone with money and/or power is feared by the general community. This is the main problem, scared of what will happen to themselves if they open their mouths to the wrong people.  A people that live in fear will never progress or prosper.

Capricornball | 23 February 2022 - 17:06:37

Just another example of the people that are supposed to be looking out for Thai resources are the very ones selling it off for their own personal gain.  Is a crying shame. And Fascinated is right on about the "special person" in Kamala that seems to be untouchable... opening a timber yard across from restaurants and homes, hardwood tree deliveries, chainsaws and all.

Timothy | 23 February 2022 - 11:18:54

Thai "officials"of any department would gladly sell their soul to the devil for some baht. Knowing full well that they will never be charged with any offence. Hell, the forest department don't notice entire resorts being built in the National Parks, they certainly aren't going to worry about a few chainsaws up in the hills of Karon. For Thai's cash is king!

Kurt | 23 February 2022 - 11:15:59

There we go, a corrupt RTP Lt Col, a Karon business owner, a former Director General, Forest officers ( since 2019!), and who more but remaining out of the spot lights? Sad . Are all these Thai criminals not a split second thinking about leaving a habitable Phuket for next generations? Criminal and dumb.

Fascinated | 23 February 2022 - 10:33:29

Anyone got contact details for the Forestry Department. I have tried to report illegal timber in Kamala to no avail. The main culprit is now building a wall around his land to hide it. They even had a big crane transshipping massive trees across from Phuket fantasy the other day but no officials seem to notice as they drive past. You'd have to be deaf not to hear the chainsaws in  the hills!


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