Timber plant operator arrested in Kanchanaburi

Timber plant operator arrested in Kanchanaburi

Police and officials from the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry search the Taweesap Kha Mai lumber plant on the outskirts of Kanchanaburi township on Monday. The owner and three workers were later arrested. (Photo: Piyarat Choncharoen)
Police and officials from the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry search the Taweesap Kha Mai lumber plant on the outskirts of Kanchanaburi township on Monday. The owner and three workers were later arrested. (Photo: Piyarat Choncharoen)

KANCHANABURI: The owner of a lumber plant and three employees have been arrested for operating the business without a licence in contravention of the Forestry Act.

The Taweesap Kha Mai plant is at Moo 3 village in tambon Pak Praek of Muang district, near the Kanchanaburi town ringroad.

Provincial police, officers from the Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Division (NED) and officials from the 10th Forest Resources Management Office raided the plant on Monday morning.

They were acting on reports alleging wood from protected trees was being illegally stored and processed there to build knockdown houses.

They spent the whole day searching the premises, from 10am to 11pm, to gather evidence of violations of the Forestry Act.

On Tuesday, NED police and forestry officials arrested the plant owner, Saengsom Kuntho, alias Che Tim, 67.

Ms Saengsom had earlier applied to the natural resources and environment office in Kanchanaburi for a licence to process wood. She was refused. 

Also arrested were wood craftsmen Taradon Kamchun, 38, Charan Chuichai, 31, and Sermrat Prasert, 43.

Officials seized as evidence 15 wood processing machines, 62 planks, 95 blocks of teak wood and 7,282 pieces of wood shaped for use in knockdown houses.

Ms Saengsom was slapped with a range of charges including having protected wood in possession and operating a timber plant without a permit.

The three craftsmen were charged with assisting Ms Saengsom in her criminal endeavour.

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