Mukdahan Natural Resources chief arrested in illegal logging sting
The chief of Mukdahan’s Natural Resources and Environment Office was caught on Thursday demanding a bribe of Bt2 million for the return of a smuggled Siam rosewood cache, say police.
Suradech Akkarach was arrested along with his alleged accomplice, Kochaphan Saengwirun, while meeting with a Lao lumber trader at a coffee shop close to the Mukdahan Provincial Natural Resources and Environment Office.
The police also seized Bt2 million in cash and four smartphones as evidence.
The cache of Siam rosewood (payung wood) was smuggled into the northern border province from Laos in 2006, said investigators.
Pol Colonel Natthanawit Sitthapirom, superintendent at the anti-corruption division, said police had staked out the coffee shop after being tipped off by the Lao lumber trader.
"Suradech was charged with demanding a bribe and abandoning his duty, while Kochaphan was charged with aiding bribery," Natthanawit said.
Cheewapap Cheewatham, deputy director-general at the Royal Forest Department, added that Suradech may be discharged from government service.