Yesterday, one Thai and 28 Cambodians were apprehended and they are facing charges of illegal entry as well as cutting down Thap Larn National Park’s Rosewood trees. The said park is located in Prachinburi Province’s Nadee District.
A combined force consisting of soldiers, police officers, officials of the national park and defense volunteers rounded up the Cambodians. The said foreigners were fleeing on foot from Thap Larn National park when they heard shots fired by the armed guards and the Thai authorities.
The authorities have been deployed in two routes in the jungle which the authorities believed would be used by the smugglers so that they can escape after they cut off the rosewood trees in the park.
With the combined effort of the authorities to catch the smugglers in the national park, armed guards who were protecting the Cambodian smugglers were spotted.
There was a brief exchange of fire between the authorities and the guards while the smugglers tried to flee downhill to an area where a truck was waiting for them so they can go back to the border in Cambodia.
The group of Cambodians that were apprehended made admissions that they were with a large group consisting of 60 men. They said that they were hired by someone and they were paid 200 Baht for each ton of Eucalyptus tree sourced from Thailand’s border.
The group was split in two, one was tasked to cut trees while the other had to load those on trucks.
According to them, they were unaware that the trees they were directed to cut were Rosewood trees. They said that they were just told that they were going to complete the project in the next two weeks. They were also informed to prepare the food that they require while they are working in the jungle.
According to the police, the Thai who was arrested was the driver of the truck which would have been used to pick up the Cambodians who fled. The Thai driver admitted that he received 3,000 baht as payment for driving the Cambodians to the Aranyaprathet border.
The police issued a statement that they are conducting investigations to know who the financier is behind the rosewood tree smuggling.