Thu, 27 May 2004

Illegal logs confiscated and concessionaire named suspect

PC Naommy, Jakarta

Police have confiscated 21,627 cubic meters of illegal logs over two separate security operations held in East Kalimantan province on April 14 and May 13, and named three suspects, including a forest concessionaire.

National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Paiman said on Wednesday in Jakarta that the illegal logging operations would have cost the state Rp 20 billion in losses, if it had not been uncovered.

According to Paiman, East Kalimantan Police seized 13,927 cubic meters of logs in the April 14 operation in a forest at Merapun village, Berau, East Kalimantan. They also seized 21 units of heavy equipment belonging to PT Hutan Alam Kalimantan, which is a licensed forest concessionaire.

The company, which had sub-contracted PT Samarinda Harapan, had felled trees outside the location specified in its license, said Paiman. The police named PT Hutan Alam Kalimantan president director Markani a suspect in the illegal practice.

The May 13 operation targeted a forest in Tanjung Perapat hamlet, Biduk-Biduk subdistrict, Berau. Police seized 7,700 cubic meters of logs from a suspected illegal logger.

The police have detained and named suspects Taufik Rahman of logging company CV Bhakti Praja and Hendry Kurniawan, an executive of logging company CV HKU.

Paiman said all three suspects would be charged under Article 50 of Forestry Law No. 41/1999, which carries a maximum jail term of 10 years or a maximum fine of Rp 5 billion (US$555,555 million).

East Kalimantan officials have long being concerned about unchecked illegal logging operations in the province. During last month alone, East Kalimantan Police arrested 19 suspected illegal loggers. Most of the suspects were arrested for fraudulent use of trade licenses.

Comr. Eny Widiastuti, spokesman of the East Kalimantan Police, said recently that many of the suspects had interisland trade documents that permitted them to ship and sell logs only in Indonesia, but the suspects were found to be transporting the logs abroad.

Many of the suspects were arrested as they traveled to Malaysian territory with shiploads of logs, she said.

Police confiscated 18,605 logs and heavy machinery from the suspects, including three trucks and two chain saws.