No violations of timber ban, forestry sector reports
There have been no violations of the ban on timber exports to foreign countries from the provinces after the Prime Minister issued the order almost nine months ago, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Mr Thongphath Vongmany told Vientiane Times on Monday that so far there have been no reports of violations against the order by PM Thonglong Sisoulith to ban the exportation of lumber.
Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith issued Order No. 15 in May last year banning the export of unfinished wood products.
“There have been reports about violations of the wood export ban but they could not make the news because the story was too small,” Mr Thongphath said.
According to a local newspaper report published on Monday, relevant authorities reported a violation and the exportation of lumber to a foreign country totaling some 22 trucks.
These trucks were carrying 121 cubic metres according to the documents accompanying the shipment but in fact the wood export totaled some 568 cubic metres.
Mr Thongphath cited that this case happened a long time ago, adding that it occurred only a few days after the PM issued Order No. 15 in May last year.
These 22 trucks travelled to Huaphan province from Xayaboury province; the target was to export lumber to Vietnam via Huaphan in Laos, he said.
Last week, Xieng Khuang provincial authorities seized 61 pieces of illegally harvested timber, which was hidden inside a beer truck en route from Xieng Khuang to Vientiane.
Police believe that a gang of timber traders was responsible for the illegal shipment. Officials have fined the owner of the timber 39 million kip.
In other incidents earlier this month, officials at the Naphao-Chalo border crossing between Khammuan province and Vietnam found 410 pieces of illegally harvested timber hidden inside a water tanker as it was preparing to enter Vietnam.
Head of the Naphao International Checkpoint, Mr Phoumeuang Keochanla, said their haul included 242 pieces of mai dou (Macrocarpus) and 168 pieces of timber known locally as mai moon , which is also a valuable wood species.
Three Lao nationals were hired to transport the wood across the border to Vietnam.
Last month Khammuan province destroyed chainsaws that were thought to be used for illegal logging, demonstrating that the government is ramping up the managemen t and inspection of logging.
The police and authorities confiscated almost 1,000 chainsaws from villagers in Thakhaek district, and more from Khounkham and Xaybuathong districts.
According to initial data from a taskforce committee, more than 55,421 cubic metres of illegally felled wood has been impounded since the order was issued.
Also confiscated were a number of vehicles and equipment used for illegal logging, including 11 snigging trucks, a bulldozer, a log crane vehicle, and a Toyota Fortuner.
By Khonesavanh Latsaphao
(Latest Update January 24, 2017)