Lao officials investigate massive increase in illegal logging

A leaked report by an international environmental group revealing huge increases in illegal logging in Laos with an implication of government collusion has prompted officials in the small Southeast Asian nation to take action to examine discrepancies in timber export and import figures with China and Vietnam.

The report by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) found that the value of Lao wood product imports reported by China and Vietnam exceeded that of Lao exports more than 10-fold, based on an analysis of Lao customs data. It appeared briefly on the web more than a week ago, but was removed at the international environmental group’s request.

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