X-rays have suggested that the illegal logs and partially-processed wooden products locally known as mai tee tab (sawn lags) found in seized containers en-route-from Laos that were opened at a Thai seaport did not in fact come from Laos.The containers in question, which were labeled as containing compressed ash of charcoal, were later found to contain expensive mai du (dipterocapus) and rosewood timber. However subsequent investigations by Thai authorities have led to doubts as to the origin of the timber.
Reports from Lao authorities have also confirmed that large amounts of the logs and mai tee tub cut from expensive mai du (dipterocapus) and rosewood found in the containers destined to Hong Kong were not from Laos.
Thai TV Channel 3’s sam Miti News programme reported on August 24 that Thai customs authorities at Laem Chabang Seaport detained the 20 containers after discovering irregularities.
The authorities opened the containers and discovered the illegal wooden products, which were estimated to cost more than 70.6 billion kip (more than 300 million Thai baht). The containers were seized for investigation, it reported.
Su bsequent X-rays by Thai authorities in Nong Khai province – the first point in Thailand where the containers were X-rayed suggested that the containers were loaded with compressed ash of wood as indicated in the export documents, Sam Miti News programme reporte d. But X-rays by the Thai customs authorities at Laem Chabang Seaport showed that what was inside the containers looked like logs, resulting in the opening of the containers, the programme detailed. Following the news report, Lao authorities have inspected and confirmed that document checks and X-ray records by the Lao side at the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge crossing to Nong Khai province where the containers were reportedly exported through found that there was no such export of wooden products.
“Initial inspections into the documents and X-ray records at the customs checkpoint during the period from June to August 26 showed that there were no logs or mai tee tab exports recorded,” the Lao government said on its official website on August 27.
“But there have been exports of compressed ash of wood by five companies with 45 trucks in total [during the period].
The five companies have acquired legal documents in accordance with the procedures of the Lao PDR.”
In fact, the export of logs and all types of unfinished wooden products is strictly prohibited by the Lao government following the issuance of the Prime Ministerial Order No 15 on May 13 that imposes the prohibition.
Source: Vientiane Times