Wood Worth Its Weight In Gold? Rosewood Smugglers Busted.
Above Photo: Illegally-logged Rosewood being smuggled out of a Cambodian National Park by boat.
My novel BACK, in part, deals with general lawlessness and things that can – and unfortunately often do – go wrong for adventure backpackers in the wild and often lawless border regions of Asia, given the amount of vested interests at play in illegal and highly lucrative ventures in these areas.
These ‘ventures’ include drug-growing and drug smuggling (highly relevant to BACK), outrageous logging and the illicit trade in wild animals, and I was again reminded of this when I read a recent report about an illegal consignment of Siamese rosewood that had been seized in Nong Khai Province, Thailand.
The illegally-logged wood had been smuggled out of the jungle and was making its way to Laos, right across the Mekong, from where it would usually be taken to Vietnam or China, where it commands an astronomical price. The Environmental Investigation Agency in 2013 said that the value of Rosewood on the black market in China was worth more than its weight in gold. (I can’t believe it either, but I have supplied a link below)…
This haul, confiscated by Thai officials, consisted of 80 logs of Siamese rosewood, seized right on the banks of the Mekong River.
According to an officer, the smugglers brought the wood into the area under cover of darkness, but in typically Asian fashion, then the haggling began. The buyers and the smugglers couldn’t agree a price, delaying its delivery, and the officers found (or were led to) the stash before it could be taken across the river.
This was just one small but commendable bust in an otherwise rampant trade in illegally-logged hardwoods in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.
For a modern-day take on the Vietnam War and Adventure Backpacking into the jungles of Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, see: http://peteralanlloyd.com/back-part-2/backpackers-meet-the-vietnam-war-back-screenplay-finally-finished/
For POWs left behind in Laos, see also:
See also this excellent article on the problems facing the region on clamping down on illegal logging of Rosewood: https://asiancorrespondent.com/2016/01/more-valuable-than-gold-thailands-fight-to-save-the-siamese-rosewood/
BACK Parts 1 and 2:
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