CityNews Article Archive:
DNP Goes Back to Forest Where Armed Chang Dao Villagers Attacked Forestry Officers
CityNews – Damrong Apidech, Director of DNP (Department of Natural Parks) led a team of officials on April 2nd into a tract of forest in Chang Dao that has been an area of concern for the department. Along with 1,400 recruited forest officers, police, Border Patrol Police and Pha Muang Task Force, Damrong examined the area near to where forestry officials had earlier been set upon by a crowd of hostile locals.
The area in question, Pha Dang National Park (Protected Areas Regional Office 16) located at M11 Muang Na, Chiang Dao, has been a hive of illegal activity for some time, including deforestation and possible opium cultivation. So when on March 30, 2012, Jamlong Jongjai, the head of Protection Unit II PD II (Huay Ja Khan), along with nine officers patrolling the north of the forest in M11, came across a group of people digging a hole in a newly deforested area they approached the group. Seeing the officers the group ran away, although one man was seized, a 21 year-old named Jedsada Saeyang of Chiang Dao.
Before officers reached Nong Kham to hand Jedsada over to officials a group of hostile villagers, led by Anan Satasyamol, blocked their way while carrying sticks, bottles and knives. The crowd then proceeded to attempt to take back Jedsada from the officers, though after warning shots were fired into the air the crowd retreated. The officers then waited for assistance until they could take Jesada into custody.
The Director of DNP revealed that it was most likely that the area is being deforested to grow opium, something not uncommon in northern secluded areas of forest. It is also believed deforestation of this kind is not done by a single group, or a family, but by an entire village who hope to gain from the crop’s yield.
Damrong and his team visited the captive’s home in the village and also talked to the village headman, while Anan Satasayamol, the leader of the crowd was charged for assaulting forestry officers. A search of Anan’s house revealed two logs of Burma Paduak (similar to mahogany), and 3 pieces of 0.6 m3 processed Burma Paduak, as well as a firearm. It is illegal to cut down Burma Paduak trees without express permission from authorities.
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