Gangs cut down 500 trees in RAK

Gangs cut down 500 trees in RAK
One of firewood trucks nabbed.

Ras Al Khaimah - "One acacia tree may cost up to Dh5,000 in the black market."

By Ahmed Shaaban

Published: Mon 8 Feb 2016, 4:47 PM

Last updated: Tue 9 Feb 2016, 8:16 AM

The Department of Public Works and Services has busted several gangs involved in destroying 500 locally protected trees in the emirate last year.
Engineer Ahmed Al Hammadi, Director-General of the department, said: "It is not a matter of individual cases. These are organised gangs which include residents, who are divided into groups; some to cut, some to move, and others to monitor the roads and alert the robber to flee on time."
Ahmed Hammad Al Shehi, Manager of the Public Works Section at the department, said the tree gangs were nabbed during raids or through the reports received from the public.
"The local trees robbers include local companies, trade license holders, or individuals, though most of the seizures made involved individuals with their own vehicles for warming, barbeque, and camps purposes."
Al Hammadi added that patrol teams, Raqib, under his department has stopped the robbers 53 times from destroying the protected trees, the official said.
Some other robbers of these gangs are specialised in selling or trading in these banned local trees, he added.
"It is actually a lucrative trade as one acacia tree may cost up to Dh5,000 in the black market as per its type, size, quality and pressing demand."
A significant rise in the price of firewood bundles has been reported recently, he elaborated.
"A bundle of firewood stood at Dh40 to Dh50 last year whereas the same cost Dh15 in 2013."
Eng Al Hammadi said the largest seizure in three years made last year was of 69 acacia trees. "The trees were cut from Al Beih Wadi by one person at one time."
The Raqib patrols were alerted about the tree robber by an Emirati man cooperating with the department, he said. Al Hammadi added that the seizures were made at the northern and southern areas of the emirate.
"These include Seeh Al Barirat, Al Gasidat, Seeh Al Banah, Seeh Al Ghib, Al Uraibi, Al Hamraniya, the airport and Saeedi roads, Al Qur Wadi, Al Manei, as well as Dhaia, and Al Halila."

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