Dutch police seize allegedly ‘illegal’ Myanmar teak

20 January 2020

In the first raid of its kind, Dutch police have seized a large quantity of Myanmar teak in the Netherlands circumvented through the Czech Republic in alleged contravention of EU Law.

This follows revelations from the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) one year ago, in its report ‘State of Corruption’, showing  how criminals were shipping non-compliant timber into Europe through member states with weaker law enforcement.

Working on information provided by the Czech authorities the police found the wood after intercepting a convoy of lorries and then raided six addresses in Noord Holland, Utrecht and Gelderland. Under the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) importing wood without  a clear chain of custody, including the origin of the timber, and the lack of documentation has been a persistent issue in the trade of Myanmar teak to the EU market

“Earlier this year we  exposed how traders in Myanmar were redirecting supply through third countries in Europe in order to avoid countries with strong EUTR enforcement,” said Faith Doherty, forests campaign leader at the EIA. “The trade is highly lucrative and the use of the Czech Republic as one route indicated how devious they were becoming in avoiding the law.”

 “The EIA has been pushing for stronger enforcement of the timber regulations, as up till now there have been few real penalties for trading in illegally sourced timber. This seizure, and the willingness of the Czech and Dutch authorities to co-operate to prevent circumnavigation of the law within the EU is a major and very welcome step.”

No details about any pending prosecutions, or the names of individuals or companies involved, have yet been released.