Thai Man Smuggles Durian Trees to Laos 

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A man was apprehended in Thailand attempting to smuggle durian trees valued THB 1 million into Laos.

Head of the Chongmek Customs House at the border of Thailand and Laos, Wanlop Suiraksa, told Thai media that officials spotted a silver pickup truck transporting 6,500 durian trees covered by a black plastic sheet.

The 21-year-old truck driver, Narongsak Sichana, said that a Lao customer in Pakse, Champasak Province, had ordered durian trees at THB 150 to 200 each. 

The young driver claimed the customer in Laos had requested permission from authorities to import the plants, and that he had no idea transporting durian trees was illegal in the country.

Mr. Narongsak faces charges of smuggling preserved plants without permission in violation of the Plant Variety Protection Act.

The 11 preserved plants are durian, pomelo, longan, lychee, tamarind, coconut, pineapple, salak, Pueraria Mirifica herb, and thong khruea herb or Butea superba, according to the Thai Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives.

Selling unripe durian carries a penalty of up to three years in prison and a fine of up to THB 60,000  in Thailand because it misleads the buyer about the quality of the fruit.