Pekanbaru (EoF News)--- The chief of Riau Police raided a subsidiary of Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), PT Bina Duta Laksana who clearcuts natural forest on peat swamp with more than 3-meter depth last weekend. The concession is situated on Kerumutan forest block or in Gaung of Indragiri Hulu district. The Riau Police Chief, Brig.-Gen. Sutjiptadi, showed a documentary film performing his raid at the company's site to the participants of Judicial Workshop on Forest Fire in Pekanbaru Tuesday. "I told the company's [PT Bina Duta Laksana] boss to stop this clearcutting and I am responsible [for the action]. Its license is clearly breaching the laws," the chief told at the workshop. He and the team of illegal logging fighting flied a helicopter to reach the remote area in Kerumutan forest on Saturday.
The film was played at the workshop for 30 minutes as showed the police found that clearcut logs from natural forest which piled in 7.5 km length. The documentary depicted the loss of thousands hectares of natural forest and ecological damage on peatlands where many canals built by the timber companies. The aerial observation also showed forest firest occurred in three separate locations including in Indragiri Hilir and Bunut of Pelalawan district. The judicial workshop on forest fire was organized by collaboration of the Riau Province Government and WWF-Indonesia. On the keynote speech, Director Forest of WWF-Indonesia, Ian Kosasih, said that Riau becomes the spotlight on forest fire issue at national and regional levels where its occurrence is quite high and the province is dominated by the land-based business activities. Eyes on the Forest coalition has investigated APP's PT Bina Duta Laksana in June 2006 and April 2005 which found that APP involved in the illegal logging conducted in its subsidiary's concession. The investigation in 2006 found that PT Bina Duta Laksana, part of APP, has clearcut 10,000 hectares of natural forests. Its timber plantation issued by Indragiri Hilir district head and the operation occurred on protected peat swamp forest of 3-m depth as well as on natural forest in good condition. Following the finding, Indragiri Hilir resort police head Istu Hari said that his team are calculating the volume of seized logs. At least 12 witnessess questioned where they come from companies, villagers surrounding the HTI concession and four expert witness. "Based upon the witnesses' account, the logs felled to supply the demand of PT Indah Kiat [APP pulp mill], Istu Hari said as quoted by Kompas daily as saying Thursday. The police has questioned director and general manager of PT Bina Duta Laksana, one of 21 companies that probed by the police of committing environmental crime. Meanwhile, in Jakarta, WALHI (The Indonesian Forum for the Environment) has accused the government of encouraging deforestation by allowing eight industrial timber plantation companies to clearcut forests in Riau province beyond the legal limit, The Jakarta Post reported last weekend. Find Investigative Report June 2006 Find Investigative Report April 2005