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Bkk post-Illicit teak poised for re
- Subject: Bkk post-Illicit teak poised for re
- From: tinkyi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Thu, 03 Jun 1999 21:03:00
Subject: Bkk post-Illicit teak poised for re-import
Bangkok Post June 3, 1999.
Illicit teak poised for re-import
Falsely documented as felled in Burma
A huge amount of timber reportedly awaiting approval to cross into Mae Hong
Son from Burma was probably mostly logs felled illegally in Thailand and
falsely documented as Burmese, House Agriculture Committee chairman Charoen
Chankomon said yesterday.
Officials he had spoken to said there could not possibly be 1.8 million
cubic metres of Burmese timber awaiting entry to Thailand, as claimed by
four firms seeking import approval, Mr Charoen said.
"Those officials who talked to me doubted that all those logs are Burmese.
"It would take 15 years to haul such an enormous volume of timber into the
country," the Chaiyaphum New Aspiration MP said .
"Nobody, including cabinet members and high-ranking officials, has ever seen
this timber supposedly waiting at the border.
"How could anyone be so sure such an enormous volume of timber would ever
come all the way from inside Burma, and from nowhere else?"
His comment followed reports that the four firms had the backing of the
leader of a government coalition party to import the timber through Mae Hong
Chart Thai leader Banharn Silpa-acha yesterday strongly denied he had ever
pushed for any opening of the border, no matter how temporary, to allow the
haulage of the logs into Thailand.
Seemingly irritated at the suggestion, Mr Banharn said he had said
repeatedly that no checkpoints should be opened for the sole purpose of
bring in timber at the cost of damaging the lush forests.
Mr Charoen expressed concern at reported moves by the timber firms-the
Korean War Veterans Co, Phon Phana, B&F Goodrich and SA Pharmaceuticals-to
have five border checkpoints opened for their timber.
The four firms would reportedly be supplied with a total of 1.8 million
cubic metres of timber by Myanmar Timber Enterprise.
"Contracts (for timber sales) could possibly be furnished with numbers for
merchandise which never existed," the committee chairman said.
"They could just be a big bundle of paper made up for a certain purpose."
Mr Charoen said he would again lead a team of committee members to Mae Hong
Son to examine the planned haulage routes later this month.