More than 80 Cambodians were arrested in Thailand’s Sa Kaeo province after more than 100 of them, along with Thai ringleaders, were caught trying to enter the prohibited Thap Lan National Park for logging earlier this week.
The Bangkok Post reported on Tuesday that 39 Cambodian men were rounded up and taken to the Khon Buri district police office after they asked for food from residents of Ban Nong Bot village on Monday.
District chief Supoj Saenme was reported as saying that Thai and Cambodian smugglers had brought the Cambodian men across the border and ordered them to cut rosewood trees in the national park.
The report added that they could not enter the target area in the park because of tight patrolling by Thai soldiers. The Thai ringleader provided them food only for a while.
The Cambodians later went out for food and were arrested, but others remained hiding in the forest.
In the second roundup, Cambodia’s National Police reported that Thai soldiers searched the park and apprehended another 45 Cambodian men whom they sent to the police office.
The men confessed that they were hired in Cambodia to get across to the national park and paid 150 baht to 200 baht ($4.50 to $6) per kilo of timber they cut and carried out of there.
General Pich Vanna, chief of the Cambodian-Thai Border Relation Office, said that he had not yet been informed of the arrests.