GEORGE TOWN: After lying low for several months, the agarwood trees (gaharu) syndicate is suspected to be back in action.
At least five trees said to be the highly-valued agarwood trees were chopped down in the rainforest near Taman Permai in Tanjung Bungah here.
The discovery was made by Penang Hash House Harriers runner Gurdial Singh, who had highlighted the matter nine months ago when he encountered the felled trees while running in the jungle.
Gurdial was with a friend when heard the sound of trees being chopped on Saturday afternoon.
“We were shocked to see the two felled trees. I believe the poachers are at it again after keeping a low profile for some time,” he said at the scene.
To his dismay, Gurdial said there was no response when he contacted the Forestry Department.
“We are trying our best to preserve these priceless trees.
“There are other gaharu trees in the jungle and I hope the authorities will take the matter seriously.”
State Forestry Department director Abdul Wahab Deraman said he would instruct his officers to check on the situation.
“We will get to the bottom of the matter.
“We do not want trees to be felled without a reason,” he added.
It is learnt that local syndicates with foreign connections were going after the prized trees as a 10ml tube of gaharu oil, used in medicines and perfumes, fetches a good price in the Middle East.
Sunday Star, in its exclusive report on Feb 12, highlighted local syndicates with foreign connections were allegedly felling agarwood trees illegally in the rainforest near the Penang Botanic Gardens here and in other places.