22 Feb 2005

Police in Indonesia's Papua arrest three suspects in huge illegal logging scam

9:46 am on 22 February 2005

Police in the Indonesian province of Papua have announced the first arrests of illegal logging suspects since environmentalists declared timber smuggling there to be the biggest involving a single wood anywhere in the world.

A police spokesman says two Indonesian men and a Malaysian were caught along along with a barge full of smuggled timber, in waters off the Manukwari district, with more than 2,100 cubic metres of the smuggled merbau timber which was destined for China.

He says the boat was seized by local Papuan police on January 27th but wasn't reported to the National Police until recently.

The organisation Telepak claimed last week it had exposed evidence of US$1 billion timber racket operating from Papua.