Three tree cutters were arrested at 3am in a bush hideaway near Po Lo Che recently, Sai Kung Divisional Commander Paul Gordon reported. Rural Patrol Unit officers seized about 50kg of agarwood, Paul said.
Two of the arrested men were illegal immigrants and one was a two-way permit holder. Paul said the operation was difficult in the dark bush near Kak Hang Tun, but the officers sustained only minor injuries.
Agarwood is used for incense and perfume in an industry estimated at $6 – 8 billion a year. It’s the resin formed inside the trees when they are infected by mould that is so valuable. In China it’s termed Black Gold. The highest grade wood is worth as much as US$10,000 per kg and distilled agar-oil US$30,000 per kg. Over-exploitation of the tree species means that Hong Kong is one of the endangered species’ last havens.