Red sandalwood: How the Chinese operate in Bengaluru

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Bengaluru, June 15: The modus operandi of how red sandalwood is smuggled out of Bengaluru has come to light in the wake of the police arresting two Chinese red sandalwood smugglers two days back.

This is the fourth arrest in four months in connection with red sandalwood smuggling.

Also read: Red sandalwood smuggling: NHRC recommends CBI probe

Red sandalwood: Chinese operate in Bluru

During the course of the investigation it has been found that red sandalwood logs in small quantity is dumped near Hoskote in Karnataka. The logs are given to mills which make furniture and later picked up by the smugglers from China.

Smuggling in the form of furniture

During the investigation it was found that red sandalwood which is smuggled from Andhra Pradesh is brought to Karnataka and dumped in mills that make furniture. Later on the wood is used to make tables, chairs and even beeds.

After the furniture made out of red sandalwood is prepared these smugglers pick it up and transport it out the country, investigations have also revealed. Police officials say that this is a easier and more fool proof method of carrying red sandalwood out of the country.

Carrying it is the log form is not possible and hence if the same is made into furniture, it can be smuggled out easily without the authorities getting a whiff of the crime.

Major market in Bengaluru

In the past four months the police have picked up at least 4 persons alleged to be involved in red sandalwood smuggling. All the four persons picked up were from China and alleged to be involved in a major red sandalwood smuggling racket.

Students from China are the ones that are roped in by the smugglers to carry out this trade. There are a considerable number of Chinese nationals in Bengaluru who are involved in the red sandalwood trade, police officials also say.

While there is a major market within Bengaluru itself for red sandalwood, there have been instances of the same being smuggled out to other parts of the country as well. The police have found instances of red sandalwood being sold to prospective buyers in furniture form.

There are many uses of red sandalwood and the Chinese in particular consider it to be sacred. The highest demand for red sandalwood is in China and it is used for different purposes, police officers also say.

Local support

The smugglers from China who operate in South India have local support as well. It is a lucrative business which pays well and hence the locals for the lure of money fall trap. The locals are the one who facilitate the movement of the red sandalwood into saw mills.

The recent arrest of two Chinese smugglers indicated that they were operating in Bengaluru with the help of four local contacts. It was found that the local contacts had provided them with a vehicle and were also instrumental in moving the red sandalwood into saw mills.

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