Rare agarwood tree falls prey to Tai Po village thieves

May 12, 2015 14:41
The fallen agarwood tree damaged part of the roof of a nearby house in She Shan village in Tai Po on Sunday night. Photos: TVB

A rare agarwood tree fell on a house in a Tai Po village on Sunday night, a victim to thieves who wanted to sell the timber for profit.

The fallen tree damaged the roof of the house in She Shan village but there were no injuries, Headline Daily reported Tuesday.

The 20-meter tree, with a diameter of around one meter, was one of the four agarwood trees planted by ancestors in the village some 100 years ago.

The house is owned by a 60-year-old man identified only as Chan, who returned to Hong Kong a couple of years ago after having lived in Britain since he was a child.

Chan said villagers had noticed that branches of the tree had been cut off in recent days by unknown people who apparently had been selling the wood for profit.

Before the incident, villagers had been planning to build a metal fence around the tree to protect it.

The tree was removed by the Lands Department and, despite the value of the wood, was taken to a landfill site for disposal. Officers from the Tree Management Office, as well as representatives of conservation groups, were invited to examine the tree.

Agarwood specialist Chan Koon-wing estimated that a tree of that size could be worth HK$800,000 for the wood and resin which are used in making furniture, handicraft and fragrances.

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