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 Pantip.com, a popular internet forum, by a person who went by the name of vuddiken. The link is www.pantip.com/cafe/blueplanet/topic/E12655715/E12655715.html.

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.

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