Defying the night-time curfew in Bago Region during the Covid-19 outbreak, timber smugglers are being active, and over 3,400 tons of illegal timber were seized from January to April, according to the Bago Region Forest Department.
The region imposed the curfew (from 10 pm to 4 am) on April 18, and it was reduced from 12 midnight to 4 am.
With this curfew, government staffers are facing difficulty with arresting the smugglers. The amount of seized illegal timber this year exceeds that of the same period of last year.
“The curfew was first from 10 pm to 4 am. It is now from 12 midnight to 4 am. Civil servants have to follow the instructions. But taking advantage of this, smugglers are engaging in extracting illegal logs. So, we have difficulty arresting them. From January to April this year, about 3,406 tons of illegal logs and timbers including teak were seized. To make arrests, officials from the Forest department have to cooperate with police. If smugglers outnumber us, we have to seek cooperation of military units and regiments. We sometimes faced attacks,” said Khin Phone, director of Bago Region Forest Department.
Bagon Region Minister for Natural Resources, Forestry and Environmental Conservation Dr Saw Nyo Win commented that the creation of local jobs would decrease timber smuggling.
Timber smuggling is seen in all four districts of the region and it is most common in Bago and Taungoo districts.