Businessmen in Laos’s Attapeu province are selling timber hidden for years in the forest after being harvested illegally, mixing it with other timber allowed by provincial authorities to be sold by local villagers, Lao sources say.
Now being sold to private businessmen, the contraband timber was stashed before a July 23, 2018 flood from the Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy dam disaster swept away homes and caused severe flooding in Attapeu and nearby Champassak province.
It is now being brought out of hiding to be sold with logs and other old wood permitted for sale to vendors in Laos and from China, an Attapeu resident told RFA’s Lao Service, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“Provincial officials are allowing private businessmen to buy old wood from villagers in the dam-affected areas in Sanamxai district,” RFA’s source said. “But they also have timber hidden in the forest, and are mixing it with the wood bought from villagers in order to send it to the saw mills.”
Ounkeo Souksavanh for RFA’s Lao Service. Written in English by Richard Finney.