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BP: Army wants Plodprasop's

May 2, 1998


                             ILLEGAL LOGGING

              Army wants

              Chettha seeks talks with forestry chief

              Wassana Nanuam

              Army chief Gen Chettha Thanajaro hopes to receive full
              cooperation from the Forestry Department in helping the military
              suppress and arrest illegal loggers.

              Gen Chettha said he would invite Plodprasop Suraswadi, the
              department director-general, to a meeting this week to discuss
              the army's role in forestry supervision.

              Illegal loggers are reportedly most active in the timber-rich
              forests near the Thai-Burmese border. They fell trees in
              Thailand, export them to Burma across the border to falsify their
              origin, and import them for sale in the country as Burmese wood.

              The army is aware of the illegal operations but cannot arrest the
              loggers since by law they are not the forestry suppression

              Gen Chettha has suggested that a ministry regulation be issued to
              enable the agriculture minister to arm the army with full
              suppression powers.

              The planned meeting with Mr Plodprasop would look into the
              regulatory requirements and determine if changes were possible
              to support the allocation of power.

              Gen Chettha is confident the talks would yield constructive
              agreements and give the army a better idea on how far it could
              go in safeguarding the country's forests.

              "Although it is not the army's primary duty, it indirectly stands to
              cause uncalculated damage to all of us if we allow the problem to

              "Half an hour is all we need. That's how fast we expect to end
              the talks on a successful note since both sides share a common
              vision on the issue," Gen Chettha said.

              The army and the Forestry Department must put their heads
              together to figure out how they can cooperate on the forest
              protection task.

              The department is in need of assistance from the army which has
              the equipment and the manpower to carry out the job, said Gen


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Last Modified: Mon, May 4, 1998