Indonesia: Four illegal logging suspects arrested in conservation forest

Rizal Harahap The Jakarta Post 25 Jan 18;

The Merbau Police have arrested four suspected illegal loggers during an operation in Kudap village, Tasik Putri Puyu district, Meranti Island regency in Riau province.

They are Munir, 50, a resident of Tanjung Padang village; Bunari, alias Ibun, 36, and Khaironi, 17, both residents of Dedap village; and Marhalim, alias Alim, 43, a Kudap village resident.

Merbau Police chief First Insp. Roemin Putra said the suspects were arrested as they processed wood in a conservation forest area that belonged to timber giant Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper‘s (RAPP) concession area.

“We received information on illegal logging activities from RAPP two days ago. Following up their report, we dispatched 10 personnel to the location. As soon as the team arrived at the location, they apprehended the perpetrators while they were processing natural wood they had taken from the forest,” Roemin said on Thursday.

Based on the preliminary results of the police’s investigation, it is known that the suspects had cut logs – with a diameter of around 75-centimeter each – into two pieces to make it easier for them to transport the wood out of the forest.

“Every day they loot the forest and process the logs with two chainsaws, a handsaw, a hammer and an axe. We have confiscated them all,” Roemin said. Various types of wood, such as geronggang, meranti, ramin and balam were seized as evidence.

Roemin said the suspects had admitted to stealing the wood for economic motives. They sold the logs to nearby residents to fulfill their daily needs. (nmn/ebf)