Kaohsiung officials to charge suspects over illicit logging

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Aug 04, 2018 - Page 4

Kaohsiung authorities on Thursday said that they intend to charge eight suspects in an illegal logging operation, which took wood from mountain forests in southern Taiwan.

Authorities conducted raids at several locations coordinated by the Seventh Special Police Corps and Kaohsiung police officials, during which they arrested the alleged masterminds of the operation, men surnamed Chen (陳), 48, and Hsu (許), 37.

Police said they confiscated Taiwan stout camphor, Taiwan red cypress and other valuable hardwood items during the raids on Wednesday, worth about NT$2 million (US$65,134) in total.

In a raid in Liouguei District (六龜), a suspect surnamed Pan (潘) resisted arrest while holding a handgun, but was subdued.

Pan had 14 rounds, while other suspects were also in possession of other weapons, police said.

The suspects are to be charged for breaching the Forestry Act (森林法) and the Controlling Guns, Ammunition and Knives Act (槍砲彈藥刀械管制條例), police said.

Investigators said that evidence indicated the suspects had operated on public land and national parks, cutting down trees and placing them at temporary depots.

They made contact with businesses and wood carving art dealers in Chiayi, Nantou, Kaohsiung and other cities to negotiate prices for the wood using photographs, investigators said.

After reaching a deal, they transported the wood to the buyers, investigators said.