Chiang Rai forestry official fired over illegal logging

national April 05, 2018 12:27

By The Nation

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A temporary Royal Forestry Department official in Chiang Rai has been sacked for allegedly helping illegal loggers transport timber near the Mekong River.

More than 20 logs and at least 100 processed planks were trucked to the department’s Forest Protection Unit in Chiang Saen district late on the night of February 25.

Khamdee Inthawong allegedly assured a colleague the timber was legal and the shipment authorised and said he would present the necessary documentation the next morning.

The timber was intercepted in transit, though some planks were left by a roadside.

Athapol Charoenshunsa, the department’s deputy chief and director of the Forest Protection Operations Centre, led a Phayak Prai taskforce to investigate into the affair and yesterday discovered Khamdee’s alleged role in it.

He immediately dismissed Khamdee and ordered further investigation, suspecting that other forestry officials might be involved.

He said the loggers could be part of a transnational gang.

Athapol said it was outrageous that any state officials were involved. If others are found to have colluded, they would not be spared, he said, citing a recent Cabinet resolution urging severe punishment for authorities engaged in corruption.

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