Tue, 08 Aug 2000

Mobs loot 8,000 hectare forest

SEMARANG: About 8,000 hectares of teakwood forest in Blora regency of Central Java have been looted by local residents so far this year, an official said Monday.

"The groups usually brandish weapons during their operation and they do not hesitate to resist arrest if any official tries to stop them," Blora Forest chief Bambang Kartono said, adding that the regency has around 33,000 hectares of teakwood forest.

Bambang said people no longer ransacked the forest based on urgent economic needs but merely because they want to enrich themselves with luxury goods.

"They don't care about the environment and security seems to be hopeless to stop them. It'll take years to rehabilitate the forest," he added.

Timber theft is also rampant in Central Java regency of Cilacap. (har/edt)