September 28, 2009
Farouk Arnaz Jakarta Globe
The National Police have seized a haul of illegally cut logs that were to be smuggled from East Kalimantan to Java.
“We are still calculating the exact number of the illegal timber but it is likely more than 10,000 logs,” Brig. Gen. Suhardi Alius, head of the special crimes directorate, told the Jakarta Globe on Monday.
He refused to say how many, if any, suspects had been arrested. “I’ll explain later,” he said.
Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Nanan Soekarno said National Police Chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri, whom he said authorized the operation, would visit the scene today.
In August, the National Police seized 12 ships carrying around 6,600 cubic meters of timber destined to be smuggled from Kotawaringin Timur district in Central Kalimantan to Java. The value of the seized timber was estimated at Rp 36 billion ($3.7 million). During that operation, the National Police dispatched 55 officers from Jakarta instead of letting the local police handle the case.
The National Police took over the operation due to fears that the local police office lacked the independence to handle the case.
Police have charged four suspects with issuing falsified documents for the timber.
The syndicate issued forged documents that claimed the illegally cut logs were sourced from legal production forests where the government has granted logging concessions to private companies. The documents stated that the timber came from production forests managed by PT Kayu Tribuana Rama and PT Berkat Cahaya Timber. However, police have determined that the documents were fakes.
Kalimantan has suffered massive forest loss in the last 25 years, with the rate of deforestation believed to have reached about 1.48 million square meters an hour.