Temple abbot admits he sold 200-year-old phayung tree for B1.2m

Temple abbot admits he sold 200-year-old phayung tree for B1.2m

A temple abbot sold a phayung tree for B1.2m. (Photo by Pattanapong Sripiachai)
A temple abbot sold a phayung tree for B1.2m. (Photo by Pattanapong Sripiachai)

NAKHON PHANOM: The abbot of Wat Supararam in Si Songkhram district of this northeastern border province has admitted he sold a phayung tree on the temple's land for 1.2 million baht, saying the sale was permitted by law.

Phra Sakol Apiyano, 52, the abbot of the temple at Ban Pak Bon, spoke after border patrol police stopped a Toyota Rivo pick-up in tambon Tha Champa in Tha Uthen district late on the night of June 12. The truck, driven by Pattanapong Ratanamali, 40, was loaded with six blocks of phayung wood, each about 2 metres long, or about 2.80 cubic metres. The precious wood is worth about 1 million baht.

The police impounded the wood for examination, suspecting the tree had been illegally felled and the wood would be smuggled across the border to Laos.

This prompted the abbot to explain that the wood was from a 200-year-old phayung tree on the temple's land, one of many in an area covering about 50 rai. Illegal loggers were sneaking onto the land and stealing the trees, the abbot said, and the temple found it difficult to protect them.

When an investor offered to buy the 200-year-old phayung tree for 1.2 million baht, the temple committee held a meeting with villagers and they agreed to sell it. He added that the proceeds from the sale would go to temple developments.

The abbot said the sale was legal under the amended Forest Act, which took effect on April 17 this year. Section 7 of the Act allows owners of protected trees on their land to sell them without having to seek permission from authorities.

Surveillance cameras would be installed to help prevent the remaining phayung trees from being stolen, he added.

Do you like the content of this article?

Rape victim's death fuels more outrage in India

NEW DELHI: A 23-year-old rape victim set on fire by a gang of men, including her alleged rapists, has died in a New Delhi hospital, prompting protests from opposition leaders who blamed authorities for failing to curb violence against women.


More heads roll over Harley smuggling in Indonesia

JAKARTA: The flag carrier Garuda Indonesia is suspending directors linked to the alleged smuggling of a Harley Davidson motorcycle by its chief executive, the airline’s chief commissioner said on Saturday.


Family of Myanmar insurgency leader detained in Thailand

Thai authorities confirm that they have detained the wife and children of a top commander of the Arakan Army, an insurgent group who are fighting for greater autonomy in Rakhine state in northwestern Myanmar.