By The Nation
Three suspects were arrested at 4.30am and four logs were seized by officials from the Forest Protection Operations Centre. Several others escaped after one of them fired at an official’s vehicle.
Cheewapap Cheewatham, head of the centre’s Phayak Prai forest crime suppression taskforce, said footage from a live camera of the Central Network Anti-Poaching System alerted them to a group entering the Phuluang National Forest Reserve in the area of the Sakaeraj Environmental Research Centre.
Officials used five vehicles in an attempt to block six vehicles used by the alleged poachers as the suspects moved logs out of the forest on Highway 304 at 4.30am.
One suspect fired at an official’s vehicle, allowing four vehicles to escape the trap.
The officials stopped an Isuzu SUV and arrested three suspects and seized a Siamese Rosewood log inside, said Cheewapap. A suspect disappeared into the nearby forest from a Toyota Innova found abandoned nearby with a broken front left tyre.
The officials also seized three other logs that were about to be loaded into roadside vehicles.
A suspect, Saming Sonkhoburi, said he and 10 others were hired in Khon Kaen by a Vietnamese man and a Thai man to transport the Siamese Rosewood logs.
Cheewapap said no officials were injured but an official vehicle was damaged by a bullet.