Police probe 10 APP's companies over illegal logging, forest crimes

EoF News / 18 June 2007

Pekanbaru (EoF News)-- Environmentalists in Riau urged the provincial police to immediately probe the illegal logging allegedly committed by Asia Pulp & Paper's subsidiary, PT Arara Abadi, in Kampar Peninsula as found by Eyes on the Forest coalition's investigative report published this month.

These calls are raised amid widespread media reports recently on tarnished PT Arara Abadi, an APP's subsidiary that massively supplied timber for APP's pulp and paper mill for years. PT Arara Abadi's contractor mistreated migrant laborers working at the APP's concession in Kampar district by not paying any wages for consecutive five months and hired a child to work at their acacia plantation concession.

Local and national legislators blasted and accused PT Arara Abadi and its contractor PT Nuansa Pertiwi of breaching the manpower regulations as well as abusing human rights against the workers from West Kalimantan. The police are demanded to probe the crimes, but there is no official statement from the legal enforcers to probe the reports.

Meanwhile, Riau Police Office has reportedly probed 10 APP's companies concerning to illegal logging and forest crimes perpetrated in several concessions in the province.

Riau Terkini cited information from the Riau Police's intelligent unit that the 10 APP's subsidiaries and partners that investigated for such forest crimes are CV Wahana Rokan Bonai Perkasa, PT Satria Perkasa Agung, PT Bina Duta Laksana, PT Arara Abadi, PT Suntara Gajapati, PT Inhil Hutan Pratama, UD Rimba Karya Utama, PT Ruas Utama Jaya, PT Rimba Mandau Lestari dan PT Anugerah Bumi Santosa.

Teddy Kunaefi, an NGO activist of Kabut Riau, said Monday that the police should probe the illegal logging allegedly involved the APP's subsidiary as well as other 9 APP's suppliers and subsidiaries.

"We have urged the Chief of Regional Police to probe the alleged conversion perpetrated by PT Arara Abadi who holds no license in [their operation] in Kampar Peninsula since the area contains protected peat swamp forest," he told Riau Terkini website as quoted as saying.

Irsyadul Halim of NGOs Network Jikalahari's logging working group officer said that the company converted peat swamp forest which could jeopardize the ecosystem of Kampar Peninsula landscape and could incite disasters during rainy or dry season.

EoF investigation in December 2006 has found that PT Arara Abadi committed illegal logging in 4,500 hectares of natural forests where the timbers allegedly supplied to PT Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper, an APP pulp mill in Riau. EoF has not found the concession's license on official data and there is no any legality basis that mentioned by APP management in responding EoF's confirmation on the findings.