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Over 20,000 tonnes of timber seized in three months to July

Many Chinese nationals have entered Myanmar over the past two years to smuggle timber into their homeland, the Ministry of Forestry has said.

Large quantities of Tamalan timber –worth 8-10 million kyat per tonne in China – have been smuggled to the neighbouring state.

Authorities in the north and other areas seized over 5,000 tonnes of tamalan in the first quarter of this fiscal year.

“The smuggling [of timber] this year is worse than last year. Smuggling to China is more than any other countries,” a forestry ministry official said.

Thousands of tonnes of teak and other hardwoods were also seized in the first quarter, from April until the end of June.

About 100 Chinese citizens caught smuggling timber and other natural resources to their homeland were arrested, and illegal items seized. They were fined under forestry laws and deported.

An analyst said vast amounts of timber – hundreds of thousands of tonnes – could have been smuggled to China, while the smugglers were only fined and deported. These crimes would continue to happen because Chinese smugglers had not been jailed, the analyst said.

Officials seized about 5,520 tonnes of tamalan, over 4,500 tonnes of teak, over 1,600 tonnes of ironwood and over 10,000 tonnes of hardwoods over the quarter, according to data from the Ministry of Forestry.

Authorities arrested 2,027 Myanmar people, eight Chinese smugglers and seized 785 vehicles, two excavators, two crane vehicles, 71 tractors, 63 motorcycles, 70 motorboats and 103 circular saws.

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