29 Apr 2005

Indonesian police step up action against illegal logging

10:23 am on 29 April 2005

An Indonesian police official says more than 400 people have been detained this year for illegal logging in the province of Papua.

The National Police chief, Da'i Bachtiar, says nine Malaysian nationals, one South Korean and five government high-ranking officials were among 157 people arrested and charged with logging offences.

Mr. Bachtiar says police have also seized more than one million cubic metres of logs, along with ships and barges from around Papua, most suspected to be bound for China.

The Indonesian government announced a crackdown on illegal logging after an environmentalists' report in February showed more than 300,000 cubic metres of merbau timber worth up to US$1 billion annually was being smuggled out of the province each month.