Thailand: Requests 3 helicopters to patrol & protect

A statement issued by the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department yesterday said Mr Suwit planned to order three single-engine helicopters, worth about 120 million baht each, and spend the rest on fixed-wing aircraft. The department now has 10 ageing helicopters which make airborne patrols unsafe.

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Mr Suwit on Sunday inspected a depleted forest where a wildlife
sanctuary and the Mae Tuen forest reserve meet in Ramat district of
Tak. A mobile sawmill was discovered and over 100 logs and about 400
planks were found left behind. Mr Suwit’s party had a bird’s-eye view
of logs being hauled by elephants, rafts full of logs and even loggers
fleeing the scene. The minister ordered the arrest of the loggers
within 15 days.

”The wrongdoers must be members of a big gang whose
operations are virtually an industry. We need to know who are
involved,” he said. ”Besides, some 18 houses in the vicinity should
be connected to this case as a number of planks were found buried in a
nearby village.”

A local forestry official suspected outsiders, with
the backing of local influential figures, were hiring villagers to
fell trees and supply the wood to building material suppliers and
furniture makers in Bangkok and other provinces.

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