Taiwanese men, Vietnamese workers arrested for illegal logging

Taipei, March 30 (CNA) Two Taiwanese men and five Vietnamese migrant workers were arrested Wednesday for allegedly engaging in illegal logging in the Alishan mountain area in Chiayi County.

Two suspicious vehicles were detected in the Alishan area late Tuesday night and were thought to be transporting illegal timber logged from the area, Chiayi County police said.

Police said that after stopping one of the vehicles, they found more than 100 kilograms of Formosan cypress and a chainsaw on the truck and immediately arrested the two Taiwanese men and five foreign workers from Vietnam on the vehicle.

Formosan cypress, said to be strongly aromatic and insect-resistant, has considerable economic value, police said.

When interrogated by police, the Taiwanese men claimed they did not know they were carrying illegal logs and that they were just helping transport the timber down from the mountains to deliver it to someone else.

The five Vietnamese nationals, who had run away from their legal employers in Taiwan, and two Taiwanese have been handed over to prosecutors on suspicion of theft and violating the Forestry Act. (By Huang Kuo-fang and Elaine Hou)