Cambodians caught for phayung smuggling

TRAT : Two Cambodians have been arrested for alleged involvement in phayung (Siamese rosewood) smuggling networks in Trat province.

Officers carry seized phayung logs after authorities arrested an alleged Cambodian poacher and confiscated more than 20 pieces of the precious wood in tambon Danchumpon of Trat’s Bo Rai district yesterday. JAKKRIT WAEWKRAIHONG

A combined force of Royal Forest Department officials and marines captured a Cambodian man, identified only as Nged, in Saphan Hon canal in tambon Laem Klad of Trat's Muang district yesterday. They caught him while he was allegedly guarding a long-tailed boat as phayung logs were being loaded on to it.

Four other Thais and Cambodians escaped during the raid, authorities said.

The authorities seized 150 logs of phayung worth more than 1 million baht.

They believed the smugglers had attempted to take the precious logs to Cambodia by boat.

Nimit Thamasaro, chief of the forest protection unit 4 in Trat, said the illegal logging of phayung has been reported in Trat's Bo Rai and Muang districts over the past two days.

He said the phayung trees are at risk of being wiped out of the area.

Meanwhile, six marines patrolling in Khlong Poon Peauk of Bo Rai's tambon Danchumpon captured Srei Sopheb, a 33-year-old Cambodian national, as he was allegedly processing phayung logs in a rubber plantation yesterday.

Three other Cambodians escaped, the officials said.

Logging equipment, including a chainsaw, was found at the scene.

In Sakon Nakhon's Phu Phan district, police stopped a vehicle on a tip-off that phayung logs were being moved out of a forest in Ban Yang Lon of tambon Khok Phu about 5am yesterday.

The car sped up, prompting police to shoot at the vehicle's tyres. The driver drove on regardless.

Police later found the vehicle parked in front of a cassava storage area in the tambon. A total of 26 phayung logs worth more than 3 million baht were seized, authorities said.

The driver remains at large.

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