Well they say money does not grow on trees. But of course it does, and people are investing in forests all over the place.  Buy a tree and your money should grow as the tree grows. Voilà!

And don’t forget the feel-good factor – you’re helping the environment (well in this case with a view to burning it later).

Well that’s the theory anyway. But it does not always work like that. Lots of people have put money into a company called Touchwood.  Touchwood is based in Sri Lanka, but set up offices in Thailand, Dubai and Hong Kong looking for foreign investment.

Roscoe Maloney

People were approached to invest in bamboo and agarwood with amazing returns promised. Agarwood is burned for its perfumed smell by the way.  It comes from the  Aquilaria tree. Now it seems like US$40 million may have gone up in  smoke (albeit sweet smelling).

Touchwood set up plantations in Thailand, in Kabin Buri and Prachin Buri and, say punters, they are still aggressively selling to Thais and foreigners, but meanwhile it’s MD Roscoe Maloney a Sri Lankan has hopped it back to Sri Lanka and closed the Dubai, Bangkok and Hong Kong offices.

But punters who have invested have yet to see their returns.

Touchwood plantation Prachin Buri

Seems a lot of these investments were sold in Bangkok bars. One such investor is Tim Randall, better known as ‘Baron Bonk’ – an honorific he got from Sir Peter Moon, a minor baronet who did a Bangkok bar column in the net which he ghost wrote.

A typical Agar promo on the net

Mr. Randall invested between US$60-70,000 expecting to see a quick return of US$90,000 with another US$50,000 coming in later.  “It was to be my retirement nest egg,” said Mr. Randall now in Angeles City in the Philippines.

A Bangkok investment company Aequus also sunk in  undisclosed sum of money and contracted Touchwood to service their own plantation.

That contract has now been terminated for reasons which may be the subject of litigation.

And then there’s Briton Robert Cocker below who received a cheque for a sizeable amount of money – and then the cheque bounced. That is a real bummer.

Mr. Cocker has been phoning and emailing Touchwood from Malaysia. He says: :Usually they do not respond. Sometimes they do and say they will send me some money, but it never comes.”

The problem is of course how are these people going to get their money back?

Touchwood still has a ‘Touchwood Forestry Office’ in Bangkok. This seems to be getting a lot of flak with a senior executive there being quoted by investors as saying: “Look Thais want their money too. I might get killed over this.”

 Investors meanwhile say they have been told to hang on in for another three years.

Happy Thai workers

But the author of a Touchwood Investors site now up on the internet says it would be impossible for clients to get their money back unless the whole agricultural process was reformed. Pictures of their trees are not being viewed fondly. Nobody can see the potential dollars.

I called Roscoe Maloney. I am waiting for him to return my call.

Part of the company’s problems may stem from the announcement last year that it had bought 11,138 hectares of land in Cambodia to set up an agricultural project to plant rubber and other crops.

This may have not been such a smooth sale as depicted in the newspapers when it was reported. The price was meant to be rock-bottom. It may not have turned out quite so.


  1. Brett – I cannot see the think – apart from the fact they had offices in the same locations. If you can provide more detail I will publish your post. Thanks.

  2. I sunk 70 k $ since 2005 . Nothing in return , no call back , their dubai office does not answer the calls . It is a big fraud .

    They are still posting the share price on their website . So they must be making some money , not sure where it is going ?

    I belive we should appoint lawyers in hong kong , and file a court case .



  3. I am in total shock here. I just discovered all of this today. I have been trying to pay a maintenance fee for the past six months. Have been dealing with a guy in Sri Lanka. I called him today, and now I know why he got so irate with me. Then called Bangkok, and managed to speak to a guy (after really insisting). Of course I kept hearing how Thais want their money too. I did receive one payout back in 2011, and reinvested part of that. I reinvested another certificate, and have two small certificates due early next year. I am sick.

    I had problems getting the first pay-out. I refused to take a cheque, and made them do a TT transfer.

    Does anyone have anymore news on this, or where I can find any information?

    Do we have any recourse?

    I know that my initial investment was supposedly guaranteed by some Thai government department. I will be going through all of my documents.

    I am supposed to contact the guy in Sri Lanka again on Monday. I will do that, and see what he says on Monday.

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