Timber Smuggling Ring Busted in Sagaing
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Burma

Timber Smuggling Ring Busted in Sagaing


By ZARNI MANN Friday, April 22, 2011


Indo-Burmese crossing point at Moreh-Tamu. (Photo: NEFIT)
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NEW DEHLI—A smuggling ring of more than 70 people, allegedly illegal traders in timber and forestry products, was detained in the Indo-Burmese border town of Tamu in Sagaing Division on Tuesday.

Many are staffers from a local Department of Forestry office, and are currently being questioned by a special investigation team from Naypyidaw.

According to a local source in northwestern Burma, more than 70 officials, timber traders and sawmill owners were detained on suspicion of illegal trade and corruption, and are currently being held at Tamu police station. The suspected staffers from the Department of Forestry are in confinement at the Department's guest house.

“Some smugglers tried to escape across the border to India,” the source said. “But as both governments agreed to work in cooperation on the case, the authorities managed to catch them in Moreh [on the Indian side of the border] and in the Manipuri capital Imphal.

“This is the first time a special investigative unit has been sent here from the capital to deal with the illegal timber trade,” she said, adding that the detained forestry officials are junior staff.

“No senior forestry officials or township authorities have been arrested—yet,” she said.

Local sources said that the authorities have long been involved in the illegal felling and smuggling of timber and forestry products to India, and routinely accept bribes from the smugglers. Several sources confirmed to The Irrawaddy that corruption was endemic in the trade.

“The sawmill owners pay bribes of 300,000 kyat (US $350) per month while furniture makers pay 200,000 kyat per month to the township authorities and the Department of Forestry,” said a local businessman.

According to a border trader who spoke to The Irrawaddy on condition of anonymity, the black market price for hardwood is 400,000 kyat per ton or less, while the official price is 700,000 kyat.

Most of the timber and hardwood is from upper Sagaing Division and parts of Chin State. It is generally sawn into beams and transported by truck through the border to India, a local source said.

“The smuggling ring involves parties from both sides of the border,” he said. “The Burmese get the trees from forests illegally, the sawmill owners cut them, then the timber is transported to Moreh by trucks. At least 10 fully loaded trucks cross the Tamu-Moreh border every day.”

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Denys Goldthorpe Wrote:
25/04/2011
When it’s all boiled down it means Thitsaphout Than Shwe wasn’t getting enough of the corruption money for himself, this low life parasite and his thugs have been involved in everything crooked in Burma for years, you don’t dance to his tune you will get closed down. After all the poor little dictator needs more resources to support his illegal regime, it takes a lot of corruption to support his new capitol and corrupt parliament in Crapyidaw.

Snoopy Wrote:
23/04/2011
Naypyidaw should educate the Myanmar citizens to protect and preserve the forestry and the wildlife in Myanmar. Use your TV, radio, and newspaper to educate the people. I want the country to be lush and green forever. So, let's plant a tree or two on each of our birthday. Mark your birthday by planting a tree.

tocharian Wrote:
23/04/2011
Bribery and corruption for a handful of rupees. How much of Burma's rotten economy is based on smuggling, drug-dealing, gambling, prostitution, destroying the environment,..? No wonder, the junta still rules.

john eichler Wrote:
23/04/2011
I hope all those involved go to prison for a long time, but I doubt it. This corruption goes much higher than junior forestry staff. Can't the border guards see 10 trucks a day crossing the border? Does the senior forestry department managers have any idea what is going on? The kickbacks go all the way to the junta, or whatever they call it nowadays.

Dave Wrote:
23/04/2011
Iceberg... of... tip... etc

Myint Myat Twe Wrote:
23/04/2011
It is cutting grass policy, they never up root of the main steam.

Just showing of the so call new government announcement,

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