A Change of Guard

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Thursday 28 February 2013

Thailand, Cambodia Clash Over Illegal Logging

During border talks on Feb. 26, Cambodia claimed that Thai forces resorted to violence to prevent Cambodian loggers from illegally harvesting Siamese rosewood from Thailand, according to an article in the Bangkok Post today.

While these attacks are nothing new, the Phnom Penh Post  released figures from the Cambodian government claiming that 45 Cambodian loggers were shot and killed inside Thailand last year, three times the number killed in 2011 and five times the number shot dead in 2010. The Thai military denied the claims. Authorities in Thailand are also reported to have arrested 264 Cambodians for illegal logging offenses.

Environmental experts say China’s demand for the rosewood has nearly wiped out the species in Cambodia, according to the Bangkok Post. This demand means a crew of loggers can cross into Thailand for a few days and earn the equivalent of $200 to $1,000—a sum that encourages poor villagers to take the risk.


Felled Siamese rosewood tree. Photo from the Royal Thai Embassy in Washington, D.C.

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