6 June 2024

Forest rangers seized 123 rosewood logs from a fish farm in Kap Choeng district of Thailand’s north-eastern province of Surin on Wednesday.

The raid was launched by Chaiwat Limlikhitaksorn, director of the National Parks Office, after they received a tip that a large haul of illegal rosewood logs were to be delivered to the farm in Ban Takian village, to be stored there before being smuggled out of the country, possibly to China where the precious hardwood fetches an attractive price.

About 10 men were seen unloading some of the logs from the truck and dumping them into a fish pond to conceal them.  

The rangers quickly moved in to make arrests. They found 69 rosewood logs on a truck, 16 on the ground and 38 others dumped in a fish pond. The suspects escaped. 

The fish farm owner, identified only as “Som”, claimed that he bought the logs for between 10,000 and 20,000 baht each, depending on size, from several sources in north-eastern provinces. He claimed that the logs were legally grown on land with land title deeds.

The official purchase documents shown to Chaiwat by Som are, however, alleged to be fake.

Chaiwat said he suspects that some forestry officials might be involved in the illegal trade in the precious lumber.