Police Chief reaffirms anti-illegal logging campaign

EoF News / 26 September 2008

PEKANBARU (EoF News)—   Chief of Riau Police reaffirmed yesterday his strong campaign against illegal logging practices in the province following critics uttered by local NGOs as well as report by media that the forest crime widespread due to loosening control by the police.

Koran Tempo daily reported last week (18/9/2008) that Jikalahari and Walhi Riau accused both provincial police and prosecutors office of deliberately freezing 19 dossiers of 14 companies that allegedly involved in clearing natural forest in the province for pulpwood plantations.

Jhony Setiawan Mundung, Director Executive of Walhi Riau (Friends of Earth Indonesia), as well as Susanto Kurniawan, coordinator of Riau NGOs network Jikalahari, criticized the police and Prosecutors Office of having no genuine commitment in prosecuting 14 forestry companies as well as officials allegedly involved in environmental crime.

Brig.-Gen. Hadiatmoko, the Chief of Riau Police, responded the criticism and media reports by quickly ordered his subordinates to nab illegal loggers in Giam Siak Kecil block where around 50 hectares of the protected area is logged by the perpetrators, Tribun Pekanbaru reported today (26/9/2008).  
At a press conference here yesterday (25/9/2008), Hadiatmoko said he instructed his men to check in the field the reports of widespread illegal logging operation in the province.

“Against this illegal logging, I will not play down,” he said as quoted by Tribun Pekanbaru as saying.
The police nabbed six perpetrators and seized 14 sawn mills in two locations. “We will not let this go on. Thus, we are investigating a financial backer suspected to be mastermind from the operation, [he is] a Malaysian,” Hadiatmoko told the press, Riau Pos reported (26/9/2008).
Susanto Kurniawan, coordinator of Jikalahari, said last week that the slowness process of legal action by police and prosecutors office highlighted the unclear commitment from the government to protect the forest.