80 Thais Arrested by Burma for Logging

By Lawi Weng 6 July 2012

At least 80 Thai citizens have been detained in prison in Kawthaung, southern Burma, after they were arrested on Wednesday by Burmese troops who claim the Thais were encroaching on Burmese territory. The security forces seized timber-cutting machinery, bulldozers and trucks which they say were being used for illegal logging.

“We have imprisoned them [alleged Thai loggers] because we discovered guns, logging machinery and trucks,” said a police officer in Kawthaung, speaking by telephone with The Irrawaddy.

He said that more trespassers had escaped the raid and were believed to be hiding in the forest on the Burmese side of the border.

A local source said that there is no tension between Thai and Burma security forces at the Ranong-Kawthaung border area over the incident, and that the Thai authorities will attempt to amicably negotiate the release of their citizens with their Burmese counterparts.