Lao authorities say they were able to detect and seize an increased amount of illegal goods smuggled into Laos from neighboring countries during the first six months of the fiscal year 2006-07.
The illegal goods consist mostly of cars, motocycles, electronic equipments, and consumer goods, smuggled in mainly from Thailand and China.
The seized goods had a value totalling almost ten billion kips or almost one million dollars, and is an indication of widespread smuggling of illegal goods throughout the country. Lao officials estimate the actual value of smuggled goods is most likely tenfold, resulting in a loss of millions of dollars in tariff revenues for the government. And that does not include revenues from the export of illegal timbers.
The head of the Forestry Department of the Lao Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry says illegal logging is also widespread throughout the country. The Lao government allows logging of no more than 300 thousand cubic meters annually. But it is estimated that over 500 thousand cubic meters of timber are cut down every year.
Listen to our Laos Today report for more details.