ROI ET, July 24 — Thai authorities attempting to suppress illegal logging found quantities of illegal logs and sawn planks at a Buddhist temple in the northeastern province of Roi Et.
Somsak Jangtrakul, Roi Et governor, led local police, soldiers and forest officials to Wat Pa Sri Phon Sai in Phon Sai district.
There they found a pile of illegal logs and planks estimated to be worth Bt35 million, ten monks’ houses made from protected wood worth Bt35 million and a big pavilion with a basement made from protected wood worth Bt30 million in the temple’s compound covering 80 rai, some 128,000 square metres of land.
Abbot Phra Khru Chai Kittisophon claimed donors had legally given the wood for construction at the temple but the authorities found that documents of the wood were illegal. All the wood as well as more than 20 vehicles at the temple were then seized for further examination.
In Prachuap Khiri Khan province, authorities found many large protected trees aged more than a century felled on top of Man mountain in Bang district. Some trunks were processed into large planks there.
In Nakhon Phanom province, border patrol police seized 35 planks of rosewood in a van on Ban Nong Sarai Road in Chaiyaburi sub-district. The driver fled.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is about to propose its forest protection plan to the National Council for Peace and Order.
The plan focuses on arrests of wrongdoers including influential ones, effective measures to protect inland and mangrove forests and the goal to increase national forest areas by 20 million rai or 32,000 square kilometers in 20 years.