Police chief warns Riau forest to be gone

EoF News / 18 September 2007

Pekanbaru (EoF News)— The Indonesian Police warned that Riau’s natural forest might be gone within next 15 years as about 200,000 hectares of forest clearcut annually by logging practices, media reports said. At a hearing with House of Representatives’ Commission III on Monday (17/9/2007), Chief of Indonesian Police, General Sutanto, told that illegal logging legal processes in Riau are still underway, Tempo Interaktif website reported Monday. Sutanto said that not any authority can stop the police to probe the cases, Koran Tempo daily reported Tuesday (18/9).
He unveiled that 14 companies involved in illegal logging cases and from January to August this year there are 1,124 cases where 1,375 people named suspects. "Legal matter still must go on. Different opinion with any parties [is fine], [but] those who breach the law should be penalized,” Sutanto told the Commission III. The chief said the main solution to end up illegal logging controversy in the province through the court including how to use the seized logs, Koran Tempo reported.
Last week the joint governmental team for Riau illegal logging set up by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visited timber plantation concessions and pulp mills belonged to Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) and Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings Limited (APRIL) that probed by the police, Tribun Pekanbaru daily reported Friday (14/9).
The team that officially led by Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs Widodo A.S.also held discussion with forestry companies’ associations in Pekanbaru. Budi Utomo, the visiting leader and Deputy IV for Security of the Coordinating Ministry, told the companies that they should comply with the existing regulations such as not conduct logging in the concessions that issued by district heads, Tribun Pekanbaru reported.