Bengaluru: Four Chinese nationals were arrested in a rural Karnataka district for attempting to smuggle six tonnes of red sanders wood to China, a police official said Tuesday.
"We have arrested the accused and red sanders wood, weighing around six tonnes, was seized after a team of our special crime branch unit raided their hideout Monday in an industrial area near Hoskote where the logs were stored," a police official investigating the case told IANS.
The accused have been identified as Tan Zi Shui, 51, Toi Shoi Yuan, 45, Sir Yee Shai, 25, and Wei Zhiliang, 27. Their passports were also impounded.
"We will produce them (accused) in a local court here and seek their custody for interrogating them to ascertain if they were operating on their own or were part of a larger group smuggling out red sanders wood from other states," the official added.
Red sanders wood, popularly known as red sandalwood, is grown in the mountain range (eastern ghats) of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in south India.
"Red sanders wood, which is priced between Rs 20 to 30 lakh per tonne in the international market, is in great demand in China and the Far East for its superior quality, fragrance and durability. The accused procured the wood illegally and stored the huge quantity in a warehouse to convert it into furniture and sell it in China," the official said on condition of anonymity.
"Though red sanders wood smuggling has been going on for long in the neighbouring states, this is the first time we have found it in such a huge quantity," the official said.