By Marie Tonette Marticio
TACLOBAN City – Two Chinese nationals and their cohorts were caught in the act of buying agarwood wedges, locally known as “Lanete/Lapnisan” in Abuyog, Leyte Sunday (June 16).
The suspects were identified as Shisheng Chen, 34, and Jiancong Zhu, 33. Both are Chinese citizens and residents of Fujian, China. Also arrested were Leo Lim, 36, Filipino, resident of Davao Del Sur, and Grace Ann Austria, 34, Filipino, resident of Davao City.
Also known as Oud oil, agarwood is one of the most precious, rare and expensive essential oils in existence today. Sometimes called Aloeswood, Agarwood is a fragrant dark resinous wood used in incense, perfume, and small carvings.
PCapt. Ronald Espina, Abuyog Police Chief, together with the representatives from the municipal environment and natural resources office, and Task Force Bantay Kalikasan, led by Forest Ranger Eugene Velasco, conducted the operation at Brgy. Burubud-an.
The report said that the apprehended persons were caught in possession and control of agarwood wedges, weighing 9.4 kilograms from illegally cut “Lapnisan/Lanete,” an endangered tree species. The wedges had an estimated street value of P400,000, the report said.
Also recovered from their possession were 1 digital weighing scale and a Ford Ranger truck.
The arrested persons will face charges of violation of Section 68 of Presidential Decree 705 as amended by Executive Order Nos. 277 and 23.