BANGKOK -- Thai authorities are investigating the legality of some 3,000 teak logs and 78,000 teak planks confiscated in raids of two sawmills last month.
The Bangkok Post reported that Thailand's Department of Special Investigation (DIS) is conducting the probe of logs valued at more than $1.6 million and the planks valued at more than $2.4 million allegedly connected to a ring smuggling logs from Burma into Thailand.
The raids were conducted on Dec. 15 and Dec. 22 at sawmills owned by Suksawat Plywood Co. They came on the heels of a 10-month investigation by the DSI.
Suksawat Plywood executives reportedly said the company bought its lumber from legal sources. Authorities, however, said the seizures grew out of a complaint that a company had imported teak wood illegally from Burma through Mae Hong Son.
The DSI said it learned in September that Anton Co, the alleged supplier to Suksawat Plywood, had imported sawn teak from Burma under suspicious circumstances. The DSI also alleged that 57 customs declarations that Anton filed with the Thai Customs Office to import the logs were forged.
Suskawat Plywood, a wholly-owned division of Suksawat Group, is a more than 30-year-old company involved in the import and processing of logs. The company is a wholesaler of lumber and wood products and operates a factory that makes wood shutters and flooring.
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