Environmental Crime

Environmental Crime in Thailand The Scope The Royal Thai Police has emphasized and attempted to effectively suppress the environmental crime occurring in the following forms Illegal logging and trade in timber in violations of laws Illegal and unreported fishing Illegal trade in wildlife Illicit trade and disposal of hazardous waste Smuggling of ozone – depleting substances (ODS) The Trend In the past, the whole picture and conception of environmental crime in Thailand was not clearly presented. Thus, the environment at that time, including many types of natural resources, was considerably harmed and destroyed. Although nowadays the government has become more concerned about the preservation of national environment, there are still various illegal acts harming the natural resources. To give some examples, the Siamese Rosewood (in Thai ‘Phayung’), a species of protected trees, is subject to illegal logging and export due to its immense popularity among markets. The situations of illegal fishing and illegal wildlife trade have been generally improved but very difficult to be totally prevented as Thailand has more than 1,000 kilometers of border with other states. Hence, Thailand tends to play a role either as a source or a transit country for illegal wildlife trade (both alive and dead). In addition, the trends towards illicit trade and disposal of hazardous substances, including gaseous and liquid wastes disposed from plants as well as the illegal trade in Ozone-depleting substances remain the country’s major problems. However, it seems that the public does not perceive these as national threats. To put it simply, the society does not clearly understand the environmental crime and its massive impact upon human being. The Facts Normally, all forms of environmental crime are committed by large criminal gangs, supported by influential groups who have global networks. Accordingly, they are very hard to prevent and suppress. The victims of environmental crimes do not appear immediately. In some cases, this type of crime is perceived as victimless. Because of this, the criminals can manage to escape or conceal their offences easily and the authority cannot arrest the offenders suddenly after the crimes committed. Because of the fact that the impact of environmental crimes occurs to the public, not to any individuals directly, people in society, therefore, does not become fully aware and realized how serious of the crime is. Thailand has followed a clear policy of supporting tourism and industrialization. The nation’s dependence upon the economic and industrial development easily causes the exploitation of natural resources which in turn leads to environmental crimes.