Illegal Cambodian loggers arrested

A combined unit of the Burapa Force and immigration police on Sunday morning rounded up 45 Cambodian men suspected of being illegal loggers with logging equipment in Sa Kaeo's Aranyaprathet province, Thairat Online reported.

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The arrests were made after an intelligence report indicated a group of Cambodians were hiding in a cottage near Ban Lao village in tambon Nong Sang.

The combine police and military force laid siege to the cottage and rounded up 45 Cambodian men who did not have proper travel documents.

Found in their possession were one powered chainsaw, seven communications radios, 12 mobile phones, three machetes, five hammocks and one hand-operated saw blade.

The Cambodians allegedly confessed to having been hired for 500 baht a day by a Cambodian military officer to sneak across the border into Thailand to fell phayung or rosewood trees in the Pang Sida National Park.

They crossed the border into Thailand at Ban Ang Sila in tambon Non Muak Mun of Khok Sung district of Sakaew and hid near Ban Nong Sang in Aranyaprathet district, waiting to be transported by truck by Thai accomplices to Pakdi Paendin village in tambon Nong Mak Fai in Sa Kaeo's Watthana Nakhon district. From there, they were to be led by a Cambodian man into the Pang Sida National Park to fell phayung trees.

The phayung logs would then be smuggled across the border into Cambodia for sale to Chinese and Vietnamese traders, they said.

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