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Tree thief sought by village elders

Date Posted: 2005-11-24

The trees in Yonaguni Village are protected, but that’s not stopping a mysterious nighttime thief.

Yonaguni Village and it’s Board of Education chief say a thief is slipping into its forest area at night and chopping down trees. The forest is protected as a national monuments area, and nobody has permission to remove trees. It’s happening though, and one area is quickly becoming a barren, empty field.

Officials are asking residents to be on the lookout for anyone behaving suspiciously, and to report those people to police. “We’re doing a continuous investigation,” says a Board of Education member, “and we will then submit our own report to police.” He says the problem is more extensive than only the trees. “This area has a lot of herb grasses, and that’s gone too.” The official says a 200 square meters area of grasses has been stripped away.

Police say the thefts are no small thing, noting that the missing trees are all 5-6 meters long (16~19 feet). Officers say the trees aren’t just walking away, and that a truck is needed. They’re asking residents to watch for any vehicles who don’t belong in the village.

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