Foreigners slammed for lopping tree

A group of about five foreigners have been caught on camera lopping a large branch off a tree on Phangan island and have been heavily criticised by Thai netizens, many of whom demanded that the authorities arrest them.

Photographs of the foreigners cutting off the tree branch on the popular tourist island in Surat Thani were posted on Sept 15 on, a popular internet forum, by a person who went by the name of vuddiken. The link is

The topic of the discussion thread is "A group of inherently bad foreigners on Phangngan island in pursuit of their self-interested business surreptitiously chopping down a tree to open a paragliding business."

However, the original poster did not specify when the incident happened.

One netizen said the group of foreigners should not have cut off the tree branch and asked if the tree was in a private or public area or if it was in a national park.

Many posters called on authorities, including National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department director-general Damrong Pidech, to track down these people and take legal action against them.

Thirayuth Plaisuwan, chief of tambon Bantai in Phangan, said he had been informed about the incident and will check whether the area was in a national park.

If the tree is public property, police will definitely find those responsible for the damage and take action against them, Mr Thirayuth said.

Share your thoughts

Discussion 1 : 19/09/2012 at 10:30 AM
The zxenophobes make the headlines again. What a ridiculous article. Go get the farangs, forget about prosecuting your own citizens who have ravaged the forests of the country for decades! But they are all part of the "elite" so that's ok.
Discussion 2 : 19/09/2012 at 09:59 AM
Going by some of the responses then I guess ...since Thai people cut down most of Thailand's trees..then Thai people should suck it up and let foreigners cut the rest of the remaining trees as well so that its fair.
Discussion 3 : 19/09/2012 at 08:03 AM
D17: Australia is not a part of ASEAN and therefore cannot be included in your list of countries that will "march in to Thailand". In any case, while the AEC is opening up ASEAN markets to ASEAN countries, it is not a vehicle to permit totally unfettered access by all and sundry to anything they want to help themselves to. Please get a grip. D19: There are already a whole fistful of superstitions surrounding the cutting down of trees. Unfortunately, in today's Thailand, money trupms trees every time. As for the branch lopping. I looked at the available photos on, and it seemed little worse than the "pruning" done by local authorities everywhere in Thailand, most notably and recently in Pattaya. Having said that, it did also look like it was in some kind of nature reserve, or at least in an area of some natural beauty, so I would question their legal right to be operating a business at all from that location.
Discussion 4 : 19/09/2012 at 01:04 AM
During the 12 years I lived in Thailand I was always amazed at the ease trees were cut. In front of the place I lived on Sukhumvit Soi 73 Pattaya,7 trees were cut to make space to store the undergroung water sewage tubes. The owner of the land rented the space out for three months and allowed the tree cutting. Also huge trees were cut in many places where I travelled to favour real estate projects where the same trees could be incorporated to the project. I believe Thai people grown up in big cities do not have that spontaneous love for trees. Maybe a quiet spread of some kind of superstitious threat about cutting trees could be spread around, it would create a fear that could save the trees left in the country.
Discussion 5 : 19/09/2012 at 12:03 AM
The current Thai calendar must be quite different than the one I used in Thailand since it's April 1st every other day of the year now. This is the kind of story that newspapers all over the world write as April Fool's jokes, the sad thing is that in Thailand it's serious. Thai netizens - please do a flyover of Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai province. A lot more than one branch was cut.
Discussion 6 : 18/09/2012 at 10:24 PM
What's going to happen in 2015 when all the Indonesians, Filipinos, Malaysians, Australians etc all legally march into Thailand and take your work and your rice fields from you. All you'll have left is them preserved tree branches to swing from.
Discussion 7 : 18/09/2012 at 10:17 PM
How many Thai people cut down trees today ? Probably not that many because we have cut most of them down already .You shout about a branch ? Look around you .Dont you think that mass reforestation has a pretty big effect on the floods we are experiencing now ? I agree cutting a branch is not good but put it in perspective .
Discussion 8 : 18/09/2012 at 10:15 PM
Oh no!!! The evil foreigners cut down one branch of a tree!! They must be punished. Never mind the resorts, golf courses and private homes built in national parks and on "protected" land.
Discussion 9 : 18/09/2012 at 09:48 PM
Thailand has lost more than 90% of its forest in the last 50 years. Was it cut by foreigners ? Where were the Thai Netizens then?
Discussion 10 : 18/09/2012 at 09:30 PM
Thailand is an environmentally devastated country and the only thing "Thai Netizens" can see is foreigners cutting tree's branches? It would be funny indeed if this whole thing was not smelling like xenophobia.
Discussion 11 : 18/09/2012 at 08:36 PM
So what was the crime committed here? Does Thailand have a no branch cutting law? Besides these lads were only following the old adage "when in Roman do as the Romans' Or are foreigners wrong to copy the Thais??
Discussion 12 : 18/09/2012 at 08:15 PM
I may be going out on a limb here, but many Thais needs to get their priorities in order. Cutting off part of a tree may have been wrong but me thinks it is the fact that a non-Thai did it that got the emotions fired up. Normal Thai indoctrination has always been to simply accept things and “go along to get along”. If proportional ire was directed towards those “Big Thais” that destroy the environment and forests for personal and monetary gain, then maybe things would start to improve. Surveys suggest 70% of the people can accept government corruption that sucks 30 plus percent of Thai tax monies away from major projects but cutting of a tree branch is intolerable. Maybe Thais should start cutting off some of the useless ‘branches’ of government.
Discussion 13 : 18/09/2012 at 07:41 PM
A branch off a tree hey , one can only imagin what they must think about the Alpine Golf Club or Khao Yai then ? I guess when us no good farangs see Thais urinating and spitting all over the place or burning their own capital city to the ground on behalf of a corrupt fugitive polititian , we forget all about the value that Thais hold so dearly too "one branch" of a tree , as wrong as it was to break the Thai peoples branch ? Maybe the Thais could use some of the money they dupe from unsuspecting tourists whilst they`re trying to enjoy a well earned holiday abroad , to grow a whole forest of trees to replace that one branch ? Though , isn`t dual pricing good enough for Thais anymore ? It`s as if Thailand wants our holiday money but for us to stay at home , don`t they realise that we have the most pristine beaches in the world , without the crowds , deckchairs , rubbish or shady characters and pushers , sometimes completely to ourselves ! A bit hypocritical , what about the Thai ptt oil spill in our pristine waters near ningaloo reef , a whale shark and manta ray marine conservation park , Thais really are their own worse enemies !
Discussion 14 : 18/09/2012 at 06:59 PM
This is a perfect example of not being able to see the forest for the trees. - "Thai netizens, many of whom demanded that the authorities arrest them." The authorities are probably too busy cutting down the forest.
Discussion 15 : 18/09/2012 at 05:52 PM
I think one of the big differences between Thais and foreigners is that if someone would have tried to make pictures or a video of Thais doing something similar then the story would have ended differently. Obviously that is no excuse for the farangs but I think still something to keep in mind. Anybody who thinks differently should try to film some completely legal jet-sky operator maybe in Pattaya or Phuket…
Discussion 16 : 18/09/2012 at 05:40 PM
I hate to say to my fellow thais, but this is absolutely hyprocrite thais... A bunch of foriegners cutting 1 small tree compare to local thai people who cut down many trees just to build their own business. What an ironic. What about the area? they've cut down 2 tall trees just to build a coffee shop but a year later coffee shop was closed down.
Discussion 17 : 18/09/2012 at 05:21 PM
If the foreigners cut public tree,then they should get a fine or whatever according to Thai law.But in the same time,Thai police should take action against corrupted people,land encroaching people on national park,mountains,beaches as one justice for all. But we all know this is a smoking screen to excite some nationalism against some suspected but not yet guilty irresponsible "farangs".
Discussion 18 : 18/09/2012 at 04:34 PM
Yes, give them Thai justice.arrest them, convict them, suspend their sentence for 3 years.Seems right.Why not. Please
Discussion 19 : 18/09/2012 at 04:32 PM
It's unfortunate that these Thai netizens are are not as vigilant when it comes to people illegally grabbing land, building luxury houses and resorts where there should be none. Perhaps it's acceptable as long as it's not foreigners doing it?
Discussion 20 : 18/09/2012 at 04:14 PM
quite ironic that thais cut down trees so tescos could open on koh phangan - do these people think tescos is thai?? What about the road to bottle beach? airport plans? And this is about one branch - amazing thailand
Discussion 21 : 18/09/2012 at 04:03 PM
Thais area destroying complete forrest daily, encroaching on millions of rai of public forrest and other land...and now this, some foreigners cut of a branch and they go ballistic , wow !!!!!!!! Look yourself in the mirror first ...! I must really go and have a look at Phangan, must be a paradise with no plastic and other garbage laying around anywhere , nice and clean, and the beaches must be spotless, can't wait to sail there, will be great to able to sail a few hours without seeing plastic bags in the water or having them tangled around the rudder...must be the cleanest place on earth...and I thought that Phanghan was a place with loyd music, beer bottles and cigarette buds everywhere and lots of drugs, how wrong I was.
Discussion 22 : 18/09/2012 at 03:56 PM
Well, I'm all for arresting ANYONE who cuts down a tree illegally. However, as I've reported illegal tree poaching several times to the department of national parks (paid to get my letter translated into Thai) and never got any reply and obviously nothing happened, I've lost interest. I've also reported fishermen catching turtles in Tarutao, a resort dumping huge black plastic bags full of trash on a reef, trawlers fishing within the park's boundary and a host of other crimes. I'll bet they take a bunch of foreigners doing something similar much more seriously... unfortunately. Honestly my Thai friends, action should be taken whenever ANYONE commits a crime against our beautiful country.

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