Thai Authorities Arrest 29 Cambodians for Logging

Twenty-nine Cambodian men were arrested while logging rosewood in the mountains of Thailand’s Prachinburi province on Wednesday, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement on Friday.

The 29 were part of a group of 60 men who set off from Cambodia some 10 days earlier, lured across the border by an unidentified timber trader’s offer of 200 baht (about $6) per felled acacia tree, the statement said.

But upon reaching Prachinburi, approximately 50 km from the Poipet border crossing in Banteay Meanchey province, the men were split into two groups and instructed to log the mountainous Thap Lan National Park for protected rosewood trees—whose red-hued wood can fetch thousands of dollars per cubic meter.

On Wednesday, a group of Thai police and soldiers approached the group of 29 and prepared to arrest its members, according to the statement, only for someone to fire a gun into the air, prompting 18 of the men to flee.

All were eventually captured, however, and brought to a local police station, where Cambodia’s envoy to neighboring Sa Kaeo province met and interviewed them on Thursday, the statement said.

The Cambodian consulate in Sa Kaeo would find a lawyer to defend them in court, it said.

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