Thai authorities impound assets of Siamese rosewood smugglers

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BANGKOK, July 4 — Thai Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) personnel along with army and police personnel early Friday impounded the assets of suspected Siamese rosewood smugglers  to Thailand’s neighbouring countries.

The officials launched lighting raids at 20 spots in five northeastern provinces of Ubon Ratchathani, Mukdahan, Kalasin, Amnat Charoen and Si Sa Ket.

In Ubon Ratchathani on the Lao border, Pol Col Seehanat Prayoonrat, AMLO secretary-general, and other officials raided seven tents owned by Somchai Chantalak which are selling cars.

The officials later impounded cars at the tents.

The searches were made following a recent arrest of a Siamese rosewood smuggler using cars from these tents in smuggling the valuable wood to the Pao PDR, police said.

Col Sihanat and other Thai personnel later travelled to Mukdahan province and impounded assets of several suspected Siamese rosewood smugglers.

Also, Royal Forest Department personnel and police searched an empty space behind a petrol station in Prachin Buri province bordering Cambodia.

They found 72 planks of Siamese rosewood and 42 processed portions of another valuable wood behind the filling station and nearby. Police said they would question the land owner.

Illegal falling of forest trees, especially Siamese rosewood, is critical in Thailand and strictly illegal.

Demands for payung  wood  in Thailand’s neighbouring countries such as China and Vietnam have increased tremendously during the past few years as  they hired Thais to illegally cut and smuggle the wood out of the country.

According to a latest survey, Thailand has only 100,000 Siamese rosewood trees remaining in natural habitats.