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THE

THOUSAND-HEADED
SNAKE
FOREST CRIMES, CORRUPTION
AND INJUSTICE IN INDONESIA

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telapak
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This document was produced with the financial
assistance of the European Union. The contents
CONTENTS
are the sole responsibility of EIA/Telapak and can
under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting
01 OPENING STATEMENT
OPENING
the position of the European Union.
EIA/Telapak would like to thank the Sigrid Rausing
Trust for its support of our work. 02 THE SCENE OF THE CRIME
This briefing was written and edited by the

04 THE CASE FOR THE PROSECUTION:


STATEMENT
Environmental Investigation Agency and Telapak.

© Todd Arbini
Picture research by Tom Thistlethwaite and
Ridzki R. Sigit.
Designed by Revolting | www.wearerevolting.co.uk 04 - 05 MANY EFFORTS, FEW RESULTS
Many thanks to Emmerson Press for the printing
of this report. 06 - 09 WHO WATCHES THE WATCHMEN?
Emmerson Press: +44 (0)1926 854400
10 - 11 OPERATION HUTAN LESTARI
Printed on recycled paper An environmental crime of almost in the Asia-Pacific region. EIA/Telapak
March 2007 12 - 13 MERBAU SMUGGLING unimaginable scale continues to unfold revealed huge timber smuggling occurring
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ISBN: 0-9540768-4-2
14 - 17 THE UNTOUCHABLE TIMBER BARONS across Indonesia. Since the late 1990s the across the province in 2005, with the
country’s forests have been ransacked, with involvement of military and police officers.
the government acting as little more than a The scandal prompted a rapid response
13 THE PROCEEDS OF CRIME: bystander. Vast profits have been accrued by from the government – the largest
a handful of influential timber barons, which enforcement operation against illegal logging
18 - 21 MALAYSIA RECEIVING STOLEN GOODS the Indonesian justice system has totally yet seen in Indonesia.
failed to prosecute. As long as the main
22 - 23 SINGAPORE – A SAFE HAVEN The operation dramatically reduced the flow
culprits are at liberty the illegal logging crisis
of illegal timber. Yet two years later nobody
in Indonesia will continue.
of consequence has been convicted. Out of
24 THE VERDICT Since 2005 the government has taken 186 suspects named by the police, only 13
commendable measures to reduce the have been sentenced, with the longest jail
ENVIRONMENTAL INVESTIGATION AGENCY
exclusion zone, white area to be kept clear DO NOT PRINT BOX incidence of illegal logging and timber term just two years. The timber barons have
62-63 Upper Street, London N1 ONY, UK
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smuggling. Factories in Indonesia and evaded justice again.
Tel: +44(0)20 7354
MIN7960
SIZE Fax: +44(0)20 7354 7961
= 30mm in timber processing centres such as
email: ukinfo@eia-international.org Analysis of the outcome of the enforcement
Malaysia and China can no longer obtain
www.eia-international.org operation throws into stark relief the abject
the same volume of cheap timber stolen
failure of the judicial system in Indonesia.
from Indonesia.
BRUNEI Celebes Sea
The hard work of field enforcement
Yet while the impact of the enforcement officers is being squandered by inept police
telapak M A L A Y S I A PA P UA P R OV I N C E
actions may be wide it is still shallow. investigations and questionable verdicts by
Most of the individuals caught up in the the courts.
S I N G A P O R E clampdown are the workers who toil at the
The efforts of the President and Forestry
lower levels of the illegal timber supply chain
TELAPAK Minister to tackle illegal logging deserve
– the loggers in the forest, the truck drivers,
Jalan Pajajaran No. 54, Bogor, Indonesia I N D O N E S I A recognition and support. Yet as long as the
Tel: +62 251 393 245 /715 9902 SUMATRA and the captains of ships. The major timber
justice system fails to deal with the timber
Fax: +62 251 393 246 barons remain at large. Their protectors in
email: telapak@telapak.org barons and corrupt officers these efforts are
the upper levels of the police and military
www.telapak.org doomed to failure.
J AVA
have never been pursued.
Forest crimes in Indonesia involve
In 1999 EIA/Telapak documented the
complex relationships between a number
COVER PHOTOGRAPHY: systematic theft of valuable ramin timber
of interconnected participants – timber
MAIN IMAGE © Sam Lawson / EIA / Telapak from Tanjung Puting National Park. The
tycoons, military and police officers,
STRIP (top to bottom) trail of evidence led to the door of the
corrupt government officials and
© Dave Currey / EIA / Telapak Tanjung Lingga company and its founder
politicians, the judiciary and international
© Orangutan Foundation Abdul Rasyid. EIA/Telapak made the plight
smuggling syndicates.
© Jago Wadley / EIA / Telapak of the park a test case of the resolve of the
Source: Private
Indonesian government to tackle illegal The structure is akin to a hydra – a many
logging and bring those profiteers behind it headed serpent. Cut one head off and another
to justice. appears. Field enforcement merely tackles
the most visible elements. Until the problem
Since then governments and ministers
is tackled at its roots – the untouchable
have come and gone with the same result.
timber barons – the threat to Indonesia’s
The test has failed. Rasyid and officials from
forests will remain.
Tanjung Lingga have not been made to pay
for their crimes.
EIA / Telapak
A similar story is playing out in Papua,
home to the last intact frontier forests March 2007
1
© Dave Currey / EIA / Telapak
THE SCENE

© A. Ruwindrijarto / Telapak / EIA

© Dave Currey / EIA / Telapak


OF THE CRIME
ABOVE: Since the late 1990s Indonesia’s precious of many local people dependent upon the After years of procrastination and half-
Gunung Leuser National Park – illegal rainforests have suffered one of the biggest forests while it is also draining the natural measures the scandal unfolding in Papua
logging is occurring in 37 out of 41 environmental crimes the world has ever wealth of Indonesian forest resources by finally prompted a resolute response from
protected parks in Indonesia. witnessed. From Aceh to Papua, forests unsustainable practices. The logging at these the Indonesian government. President
across the sprawling archipelago have been scales is not done by individual impoverished Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono launched an
systematically pillaged by rampant illegal people, but by well-organised elusive unprecedented enforcement operation,
logging on an unprecedented scale. commercial networks.”(3) despatching 1,500 police, military and

© Orangutan Foundation
forestry officers to Papua. The clampdown,
Powerful timber bosses, aided and abetted The illegal logging epidemic has affected
termed Operasi Hutan Lestari II (OHLII),
by corrupt police, military and government virtually all of the country’s forests, with
rapidly staunched the flow of illegal logs
officials, have cut a huge swathe through vital water catchments, supposedly off limits
and halted most of the logging operations
the heart of the nation’s forest, leaving in to economic exploitation, and protected
across the province. OHL II seemed to mark
their wake a trail of devastation. The vast national parks, which are invaluable stores
a new phase in the battle to save Indonesia’s
proceeds from this systematic theft have for biodiversity, being invaded. The UN report
forests, with President Yudhoyono stating:
largely flown out of Indonesia, funding the found illegal logging taking place in 37 out of that it costs the nation up to US$4 billion a ABOVE (top left and bottom right):
“I, all of us, must declare war against illegal
extravagant lifestyles of the timber barons 41 national parks. year.(7) This is around five times the annual Destroyed forest, Kalimantan, Indonesia.
logging. Anyone involved in illegal logging,
and the international syndicates profiting budget for the Department of Health. During
Such wanton destruction has been blamed for anyone, must be severely punished. Our ABOVE (top right):
from the insatiable demand for stolen wood. the first half of this decade, while Indonesia
a series of ecological disasters, such as floods patience has run out. Our environment is Forest loss threatens the survival
At the height of the looting Indonesia’s illegal and landslides, and further threatening a host was trying to recover from the economic
destroyed, our economy is suffering.”(5) of orangutans.
logging rate reached an appalling 80 per of endangered species. It also has a high cost crisis of the 1990s, illegal logging has
cent, spelling catastrophe for the country’s in human terms – traditional livelihoods of Yet despite the government’s stated intention robbed the government of US$20 billion and
forests.(1) Forest loss reached 2.8 million forest-dwelling communities are lost forever, to go after the main timber barons and an incalculable cost in terms of destroyed
hectares a year, the worst in the world, with and a culture of corruption and violence corrupt officials, the results have been forests and local livelihoods.
satellite images showing 60 million hectares perpetrated by the powerful interests behind profoundly disappointing. Many were tipped With a few isolated exceptions, the main
of forests in a severely damaged state.(2) the logging. off in advance and fled overseas. Those that culprits behind this crime remain untouched.
were apprehended walked out of court free, No major timber barons have been made to
A United Nations (UN) report issued in By 2004 the looting had spread to Indonesia’s released by Indonesia’s notoriously corrupt
February 2007 found the destruction to be easternmost province of Papua. Having pay. No senior military or police officers have
judicial system. been arrested. The vast majority of those
even worse than previously estimated. In stripped most of the valuable timber from the
2002 the UN predicted that the lowland rest of the country, the logging gangs were convicted for illegal logging offences are
By November the courts had acquitted 21 either low down the chain – truck drivers,
forests of Sumatra and Borneo, vital habitat targeting the last intact frontier forests left of the most important suspects captured
for the critically endangered orangutan, in Indonesia and the Asia-Pacific region. chainsaw operators – or foreigners who
under OHL II, prompting Minister of Forestry make convenient scapegoats. The power
would be lost by 2032. Five years later A report released by EIA/Telapak in early Malam Sambat Kaban to state: “…the
researchers found that forest loss had 2005 detailed the massive smuggling of structure behind illegal logging remains
evidence to incriminate them is already clear. intact. While the recent enforcement
accelerated, leading to a dire warning 300 000 cubic metres a month of valuable I suspect that behind the rulings there has
that these forests would be virtually wiped merbau timber out of Papua. The brazen operations have succeeded in reducing the
been something that is in conflict with the flow of illegal timber, as long as the timber
out by 2022. theft involved up to 20 cargo vessels a legal norms.”(6)
month ferrying stolen logs to China and India, barons remain at large the battle is far
Commenting on the report Achim Steiner, Illegal logging in Indonesia represents from won. Disturbingly, recent EIA/Telapak
with the connivance of police and military
UN under-secretary general, said: “Illegal a huge crime of breathtaking scale and investigations indicate that illegal logging is
officers and the involvement of transnational
logging is destroying the livelihood audacity. The government has estimated on the rise again.
crime syndicates.(4)
2 3
agency to take on the timber barons.(10)
Instead of turning to emergency powers
the government has attempted to utilise
recent laws against money laundering
and corruption to make up for the failings
of the forestry law. Under an anti-money
laundering law issued in 2003 the Indonesian
government made forestry and environmental
crimes predicate offences. Subsequently the
Ministry of Forestry signed a cooperation
agreement with the financial intelligence

THE CASE FOR


unit, or Pusat Pelaporan dan Analisis
Transaksi Keuangan (PPATK), raising hopes
that by following the money trail the timber

THE PROSECUTION
bosses could be brought to justice.
The PPATK has taken great strides in
exposing the flows of money derived from
crimes both within Indonesia and to other
countries. It has even developed 15 cases
involving police officers. Yet its efforts have
been hampered by a lack of investigative
authority, meaning that after identifying

© Anna Fooks / Orangutan Foundation


suspicious transactions it must forward the
cases to the police for further investigation
and cannot file cases directly with the

© Bismo Agung / TEMPO


Attorney General’s Office. To date nobody
has been convicted of money laundering in
connection with illegal logging.
Initial optimism that the campaign against
corruption launched by the President
upon taking office in 2004 would lead
to successful prosecution of the police,
ABOVE:
Indonesian Forestry Minister Malam
Sambat Kaban.
MANY EFFORTS, FEW RESULTS military and government officials involved
in illegal logging has also faded. The
Indonesian anti-corruption commission or
several provinces where timber theft is rife
setting up local task forces. During field
visits to key logging and timber processing
ABOVE:
Anti-illegal logging field operation, Tanjung
Puting National Park.
Since launching the enforcement operation or perpu, to provide the powers needed to locations EIA/Telapak has witnessed
Komisi Pembarantasan Korupsi (KPK) with
in Papua the Indonesian government has attack the problem at its roots. Elements of encouraging signs that the coordinated
its dedicated team and special court has
repeatedly stated its intention to eradicate the perpu included setting minimum rather attack has forced some of the illegal loggers
won some notable victories, but has yet to
illegal logging throughout the country by than maximum sentences for illegal logging on to the defensive. In Riau Province many
successfully prosecute a single case involving
capturing the major criminals profiting crimes, the right to freeze bank accounts traders had left the business, while in the
illegal logging.
from the forest plunder. To achieve this and tap the phones of suspects, creation of main timber industry centre of Surabaya
goal it has armed itself with new inter- special ad hoc courts and placing the onus on Trade measures have been put in place to around half of the factories were idle due to
agency cooperation mechanisms and has suspects to prove that their wealth was not curb the smuggling of unprocessed timber. problems securing raw supplies. Countries in
attempted to utilise general laws against derived from illegal logging.(8) In September 2001 the Indonesian the region which have come to rely on cheap
money-laundering and corruption to snare the government banned the export of round timber stolen from Indonesia to supply their
Unfortunately the inclusion of the death
powerful crooks. logs, and in October 2004 exports of rough wood factories, notably China and Malaysia,
penalty for illegal logging financiers
Such an approach implicitly recognises the undermined the more sensible and necessary sawn wood were also outlawed. The sawn have also been affected by the clampdown.
fundamental weaknesses of the prevailing elements of the perpu, which ultimately timber ban was strengthened by the current
Yet while the progress in terms of the volume
forestry law. This law is restricted to locus failed to win the required unanimous support government in February 2006. Despite
of timber and equipment seized is impressive,
delicti offences committed either in the forest from the Indonesian cabinet of ministers. proving useful as an enforcement tool, the
once again the powerful interests behind
or during the transportation. While imposing Upon assuming the office of Minister of bans have no legal force outside Indonesia.
the logging are virtually unscathed. The
potentially high maximum penalties of up to Forestry in October 2004, Kaban stated his Another strategy has been to compel various fundamental problem is that despite sincere
10 years for illegal cutting and transport of conviction that an emergency law was not agencies to work together to tackle the commitments and intentions, the Inpres
timber without the correct documents, the required: “Before issuing the perpu, we will problem of illegal logging. In March 2005 is dependant on some of the most corrupt
law is manifestly unsuited to prosecuting the look for other alternatives that are more President Yudhoyono issued a Presidential institutions in Indonesia for its success –
real beneficiaries of the illegal logging racket appropriate. In my opinion, illegal logging Instruction on Eradication of Illegal Logging notably the police, prosecutors, and judiciary.
– the financiers who fund the logging, the could be prevented through consolidation and to 18 government agencies. The effort is
brokers who charter the ships to smuggle coordination between the Forestry Ministry, The President himself clearly recognises the
coordinated by the Minister for Political,
timber overseas, and the corrupt officials who the police, the Attorney General’s Office and threat posed by a corrupt judiciary and has
Law and Security Affairs, and involves the
turn a blind eye. the courts,” he said.(9) even asked the public to monitor court cases
ministries of forestry, defence, law and
involving illegal logging: “I have observed
This problem was recognised by the previous Some of the provisions contained in the human rights, finance, the heads of police,
that legal enforcers have imposed very
Minister of Forestry, Muhammad Prakosa. perpu, such as minimum sentences, have military and intelligence, and regional
light sentences on those committing illegal
After waging an unsuccessful battle against now resurfaced in a new draft law on illegal governors. Progress reports must be made to
logging. The government or the President has
the timber bosses he attempted to persuade logging submitted by the government to the the President every three months.(11)
no right to interfere in the legal process, but
the government of then President Megawati Indonesian Parliament. A main aspect of the The so-called Inpres has yielded promising I ask the people to control legal proceedings
Sukarnoputri to issue an emergency law, draft law is the establishment of a specialised results in terms of field enforcement, with against those criminals,” he said.(12)

4 5
were used to keep state money, and we
reported the five biggest accounts to the
police. But instead of investigating the cases,
the police extorted money from the people
mentioned in the report.”(17)
In addition to adversely influencing
investigations, police officers are also directly
involved in illegal logging operations. In
March 2006 EIA/Telapak investigators
probing timber smuggling in the Sumatran
province of Riau came across a senior local
police officer called Asmar. He explained
how he had formerly been the police chief of
Gaung, a notorious illegal logging hotspot,
and was now a second lieutenant based in the

© Yosep Arkian / TEMPO


provincial capital of Pekanbaru. He claimed to
have been in the police for 19 years and in the
timber business for seven years, and told the
undercover investigators: “I think it’s better
if you know who I am. I’m a law officer, I’m

© Jago Wadley / EIA / Telapak


a policeman. Beside a policeman, I am also a
businessman.”(18)
He and his two partners run a fleet of 12 boats
smuggling timber to Malaysia and Singapore,
and he offered to both secure timber from
the Gaung region and to arrange shipment
across the Melaka Straits. Asmar also spoke
of his ability to guarantee that his clients were

WHO WATCHES THE WATCHMEN?


successful in bidding at auction for timber
seized by the police, claiming that 8,000 cubic
metres of kempas timber about to be auctioned
would be bought by his partner in Batam.
The systemic corruption in Indonesia’s Lingga Group, headed by infamous timber

© M. Yayat Afianto / Telapak / EIA


judicial system has been well documented. baron Abdul Rasyid. The documents showed A senior police officer in Jakarta blamed corrupt
In 2002 the United Nations Special the vessels were bound for China, a blatant police for the disappointing amount of revenue
Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges violation of Indonesia’s log export ban.(15) raised through the auction of logs seized during
and Lawyers paid a visit to Indonesia and OHL II: “We found evidence that organisers set
© EIA / Telapak

was shocked at what he found. Dato Param The Ministry of Forestry worked with the up the auctions to enable selected buyers who
Cumaraswamy said: “I didn’t realise that the navy to ensure that the captured ships were were the previous owners of the illegal timber,
situation could be as bad as what I’ve seen. brought to Jakarta, so that the case could be or their accomplices, to buy back the logs,”
It is something I feel should never have been pursued beyond Rasyid’s centre of influence Brigadier General Suharto explained.(19)
allowed to come to this extent.”(13) in Pangkalanbun. Yet it soon became clear
ABOVE (top to bottom): that the national police in Jakarta could just
Such a dire prognosis is consistent with as easily be influenced. After a perfunctory
Attorney General’s Office –
the findings of a landmark study carried by investigation the police team, led by Brigadier
few successful prosecutions of
timber bosses.
Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) in the General Suyitno Landung, issued an SP3 THE PROSECUTORS:
same year. ICW found that “the court is no letter ending the investigation into the charge
Asmar – police officer and timber longer a place to earn justice, it is a justice of illegal transport of timber, potentially
State prosecutors play a central role in deciding In the three ships case the prosecutors ABOVE (top to bottom):

market.” It revealed corruption embedded whether a suspect should face trial, what the pursued Rachmat Nasution for illegal National Police Chief of Detective Suyitno
smuggler. carrying a ten-year sentence. Suyitno
at every stage – from the initial police charges should be and writing the indictment possession of timber, despite the fact Landung – guilty of corruption.
absurdly argued that as the vessels were still
investigation through the prosecution to upon which the case will be judged. There are that he did not become director of
loading when apprehended, the timber on Suyitno intervened to stop investigation
the final court verdict.(14) a number of methods used by prosecutors to the company involved until after
board had not actually been transported. of the Fonwa Star case.
ensure the right outcome for those willing to
the ships had been seized. He was
Justice finally caught up with Suyitno in pay the requested fee:
THE POLICE: October 2006, when he was sentenced to
promised payment to take the fall for
an 18-month jail term for receiving a vehicle • Deliberately prolonging the preparation Tanjung Lingga
Suspects can pay the police to halt the
investigation, a process known as “86” and worth US$27 000 from a businessman involved of the case by repeatedly returning it • Deliberately failing to prepare a strong
which leads to the issuing of an SP3 (Surat in the US$120 million BNI bank fraud.(16) to the police (the P19 process) until it case. In the case of Marthen Renouw,
Penghentikan Penyidikan Perkara) notice to is quietly dropped. In 2004 the police a police officer charged with accepting
The police can also take bribes to manipulate
terminate the case. or drop the investigation. In a newspaper claimed to have handled 962 illegal bribes, the prosecutor failed to expose
This method was used in the notorious three interview the chairman of the PPATK, Yunus logging cases, but by March 2005 the illegal logging activities of the
ships case of November 2001. After the cargo Husein, revealed his frustrations with the only 130 of these had made it through individuals making the payments.
vessels Mandarin Sea, Rong Cheng and way in which the police carried out follow-up the prosecutors’ office, with the rest
investigations into suspicious transactions: still being processed or handed back to • Delaying the appeal. In the Renouw
Fonwa Star, were intercepted by the navy
off the coast of Central Kalimantan carrying “We don’t have control over the information the police.(20) case the prosecutor failed to register
25 000 cubic metres of logs, a document once it is turned over to the police or the an appeal to a higher court within the
trail clearly linked the smuggling attempt prosecutor’s office. For example, we had over • Using a “stuntman” to face the specified period of two weeks, causing
to companies connected to the Tanjung 100 cases in Aceh where private accounts charges and so protect the real culprit. the appeal to be denied.
6 7
THE RENOUW CASE – A HOME TOWN VERDICT
The case of Police Commissioner illegal logging syndicate, the payments against the verdict was late and declined
Marthen Renouw epitomises the failure coincided with the period of the by a higher court.
of the judicial system to convict syndicates activities, and Renouw was
influential defendants. Renouw worked supposedly leading operations against The reason for Renouw’s acquittal is best
as a police officer in Papua for 29 years timber theft in the Bintuni area at the summed up by Fadal Alhamid, Deputy
and steadily built up a position of power time. Armed with such overwhelming Secretary of the Papuan Traditional
stretching from the capital Jayapura to evidence, the Attorney General’s Office Council: “He wields great influence in
Sorong, the main centre for the illegal charged Renouw under anti-corruption Papua, and he’s got money.”
logging business in the province. In April and anti-money laundering laws.
2005 he was arrested in Papua during He was brought to trial in November
OHL II and transferred to Jakarta for 2006 in his power base of Jayapura,
questioning to avoid local interference with the prosecution asking for a
in the case, a tacit admission of his sentence of three years in jail and a fine
influence in the province. of Rp 50 million (US$5,400 - just five per
cent of the funds Renouw was alleged to
As part of the investigation the have received for his corrupt activities).
PPATK detected a series of suspicious

© M. Santirta / TEMPO
transactions involving five bank accounts In his defence Renouw claimed the
held by Renouw. The evidence was funds had been sent by “friends” as a
passed to the police to follow up but loan to pay for anti-illegal logging
only one account was scrutinised, held operations. Despite such an implausible
at the Bank Nasional Indonesia (BNI) explanation he was acquitted of all
branch in Jayapura. Analysis revealed charges. The judges said that as the

© Telapak / EIA
16 suspicious transfers into the account key witness, Firmansyah, who was on
THE JUDGES: vessels without the legal documentation. during the period September 2002 to the run, had not appeared in court the
Prosecutors asked for a four–year sentence December 2003. The payments totalled case could not be proven. Legal experts
If a case does finally make its way through but Gow was acquitted of all charges by Rp 1.06 billion (US$120 000). claimed that the evidence was strong
the hands of the prosecutors and to the judges. Upon hearing the verdict Kaban enough for a conviction even without
court, the defendants can still influence said: “I suspect foul play. I suspect they have The money came from people linked testimony from Firmansyah.(27)
the final verdict. In Indonesia there is no deviated from the law.”(22) to two companies carrying out illegal
jury system, so securing the “right” judge logging in the Bintuni area of western The Renouw case clearly demonstrates
In response Judge Ariwangsa stated the
is important and can be done with an Papua – notably Wong Si King, boss the myriad ways the judicial system has
reason for his not–guilty verdict: “Legally
appropriate payment to the “fixers” who are of PT Marindo Utama Jaya and Yudi of letting influential suspects off the
he was not guilty because the ship had not
found around the court. Once the judge is Firmansyah, director of the subsidiary hook. The police investigation failed
sailed at the time of his arrest”. The judge
appointed, efforts can be made to buy the company PT Sanjaya Makmur. In January to look into Renouw’s other accounts,
admitted that the defendant did not have the
© Jago Wadley / EIA / Telapak

required verdict. 2004 the firms’ operation in Bintuni was and did nothing to gather evidence
required documents in his possession at the
raided by the authorities. Over 15 000 on Renouw’s assets – properties in
Examples of dubious verdicts in forestry time the timber was loaded – a clear offence
cubic metres of illegal merbau logs were Jakarta, Bali (worth US$160 000) and
cases abound. In 2001 a plantation manager under the forestry law.(23)
seized and 15 Malaysians arrested, but investments in a series of businesses.
in Riau was sentenced to two years in prison

© Telapak / EIA
Such capricious judgments have clearly Wong and Firmansyah escaped.(26) The prosecutors drafted a weak
and a fine of Rp 250 million (US$27 000) for
infuriated Minister Kaban, who sees efforts indictment, and finally the judges used
burning almost 3,000 hectares of forest land. It seemed to be an open and shut case.
to tackle illegal logging being critically the loophole of an absent witness to
Yet on appeal the defendant’s sentence was Renouw had received money from an
undermined. At a political rally he said: let Renouw walk free. Even the appeal
reduced to just eight months. In the same
“Judges are harsh to punish drivers or
ABOVE (top to bottom): area a local resident was sentenced to two
sawmill labourers but they are not able to ABOVE (top to bottom):
Probosutedjo – guilty of stealing years for burning just two hectares.
bang their gavels down on illegal logging Marindo’s illegal logging operation in Bintuni.
US$10 million of reforestation funds.
Speaking on the case, Bambang Hero financiers. Maybe their gavels are made of
Saharjo, Head of the Forest Fires Laboratory illegal logs.”(24) LEFT:
Probosutedjo claimed to have paid
at Bogor Institute of Agriculture, said: BNI branch Jayapura – Renouw’s account received
US$650 000 to overturn the verdict at
The corruption inherent in Indonesia’s US$120 000 from timber thieves.
the Supreme Court. “The problem is those people behind the
judiciary reaches to the very top. In 2003
scenes, whether they are members of the
Probosutedjo, half-brother of former
police, prosecutors or judges… quite a few
dictator Suharto, was found guilty by a
of them look at such cases – especially
Jakarta court of misusing Rp 100 billion
those involving companies – as sources of
(US$10.8 million) of reforestation funds and

© Harry Gunawan / Telapak / EIA


income.”(21)
sentenced to four years in jail. After a series
After a series of acquittals in major illegal of appeals the Supreme Court upheld the
logging cases, Forestry Minister Kaban sentence, prompting Probosutedjo to claim
asked for a judicial review when defendant he had spent Rp 16 billion (US$1.7 million)
Prasetyo Gow (aka Asong) was acquitted trying to overturn the verdict, of which
by judges in Pontianak, West Kalimantan. six billion (US$648 000) was used to try
Gow had been arrested for having over and buy acquittal from the Supreme Court,
13 000 cubic metres of timber loaded on two Indonesia’s highest judicial authority.(25)
8 9
Among the controversial acquittals handed
down by judges are:
• Tang Tung Kwong. General Manager of
Wapoga Mutiara Industries. Accused
of receiving almost 2,000 illegal
logs. Charged under the forestry
law 41/1999. Prosecution asked for
a sentence of six years in prison.

© Dave Currey / EIA / Telapak


Verdict: Judges Hanung Iskander,
Maryono and Andi Infaidan cleared the
defendant of criminal charges.
• Tan Eng Kwee. General Manager
of Wapoga Mutiara Timber. Charged
with receiving illegal logs. The
prosecution asked for a seven-year
jail sentence and a Rp 1 billion fine
(US$108 000). He was found guilty
under forestry law, but the judges
ruled he had not broken criminal law.
• Andi Rasid. Accused of timber

© Conservation International Indonesia


smuggling from Papua. Prosecution
asked for eight year sentence. Verdict:
Judges FX Sugiarto, Majedi and Deny
Sugiarto acquitted Rasid, prompting

OPERATION
ABOVE: Minister Kaban to refer the case to
Indonesia’s Judicial Commission.

© Paul Redman / EIA / Telapak


400 000 cubic metres of timber was
seized during OHL II.

HUTAN LESTARI – By January 2007 only 13 convictions had


been secured, and the longest jail term
handed out was just two years.(31) No major

A WASTED OPPORTUNITY financiers, timber bosses or police and


military officers were sent to jail. As usual
those lower down the logging chain bore
The launch of Operasi Hutan Lestari II in Of the 186 suspects named by police, the brunt of the operation.
March 2005 appeared to mark a decisive 172 were Indonesian, 13 Malaysian, and financiers and mid-ranking enforcement ABOVE (top to bottom):
Key suspects identified by EIA/Telapak have
phase in the fight against illegal logging. The one Korean. The list included individuals officers named as suspects are not the real Illegal logging has robbed Papuan
also evaded justice. The military police officer,
scale was unprecedented – 1,500 personnel, from every stage of the logging process – power brokers. The reach of the syndicates communities of resources.
Kaspar Ohoiwirin, implicated in illegal timber
with a budget of Rp 12 billion (US$1.3 million) ship captains, truck drivers, local community extends to high levels of the military, police
felling on the lands of the Knasimos people,
– and for the first time the government loggers, regional forestry officials, base and politicians in Jakarta. Yet these links have
was identified as a suspect during OHL II but
declared its intent to break up the powerful camp managers, low and mid-ranking police never been probed. The individuals are simply
never faced trial. The major log trader and
network behind the havoc being wrought in and military officers, and even bosses from too powerful.
smuggler Heng Ijat Hong (Ahong) has never
Papua’s forests by going after the financiers some of the main companies involved in even been questioned let alone arrested.(32) For instance, in February 2005 Hong Kong-
and their protectors in the police and military. logging in Papua. The police officer in based timber trader Shelman Siu, heavily
charge of OHL II, Commissioner General The main lesson from OHL II is a salutary
At the end of the operation in May 2005 involved in smuggling merbau logs from
Ismerda Lebang, declared: “We had better warning to those who think the present
initial results appeared impressive. Papua to China, told undercover investigators
results than with previous operations. judicial system in Indonesia is capable
The enforcement team had seized almost from EIA/Telapak of his plans to forge new
Most of the suspects this time are financial of catching the timber barons – bitter
400 000 cubic metres of timber – equivalent connections with the Indonesian military to
backers, not just operators or small-scale experience shows that it is clearly not fit
to three per cent of the total amount of protect his business. In an email he wrote:
illegal loggers.”(28) for this purpose.
tropical logs traded around the world
Furthermore there is growing evidence of “At this moment, I have buyers from
annually – and confiscated hundreds of By April observers were pointing out that
widespread corruption in the auctioning of Zhangjiagang and Shanghai will join with me
bulldozers, ships and barges. The operation the vast majority of suspects rounded up
timber seized during the operation. A senior and working on a new connection channel
sent shock waves through the global timber during OHL II were small-time players, and
police official at headquarters in Jakarta which is good relation link up with important
industry. Prices for merbau logs in Surabaya that no senior military of police officers had
admitted that auctions had raised just Army head.”(sic)
rose sharply from US$120 per cubic metre been arrested.(29) Over a year after the end of
in November 2004 to US$320 in June 2005. OHL II, the courts in Papua had exonerated Rp 40 billion (US$4 million) rather than Recent intelligence indicates that the
In Shanghai, the world’s biggest market for all 18 of the major cases which reached the target of Rp 2 trillion (US$220 million), timber syndicates are regrouping. Many
stolen merbau from Papua, log prices doubled the trial stage. This prompted General mostly due to police involvement in rigging local communities in Papua are reporting a
in six months, reaching over US$500. Sutanto, the National Police Chief, to vent the sales.(19) Such corruption led local steady rise in illegal logging on their lands.
his frustration. “We are very disappointed residents to refer to the police involved in Investigations by EIA/Telapak show that
The operation undeniably staunched the flow OHL II as “coming with M-16s and leaving
about what has happened in Papua. We while few smugglers are willing to attempt
of stolen timber out of Papua. But when the with 16-Ms” (meaning millions of dollars).
initially hoped courts would hand down to take shiploads of logs out of Papua,
results of the prosecution of the suspects
severe punishments to the offenders. Tough Ultimately the operation failed in its stated merbau is being illegally exported concealed
identified during OHL II are analysed, the
sentences would set an example to future aim to break up the power structure behind in containers. Despite OHL II the threat to
effectiveness and impact on the logging
violators,” he said.(30) illegal logging in Papua. Even the few Papua’s forests remains.
syndicates begins to unravel.
10 11
short distance away to one of Gunawan’s Malaysia and the consignment is stamped
warehouses, where large quantities of sawn as origin Malaysia. The logs are unloaded
merbau was stacked awaiting loading into at the port of Kuantan, on the east coast of
containers and shipment to China. Peninsular Malaysia, and then moved by
truck to sawmills on the west coast.
It is intriguing that the Lido network claimed
to have been operating for around 18 months, He revealed that he did not deal with
meaning that it started up as OHL II was sourcing the logs from Papua, but relied on
winding down. If the one syndicate EIA/ close contacts with the connections to bring
Telapak uncovered is capable of shipping the merbau safely to Malaysia. Later on he
three thousand cubic metres a month, the spoke of four key individuals in Malaysia who
total volume of merbau being smuggled out could do this.
of Surabaya is significant and could well be
During the conversation he confirmed that
reaching tens of thousands of cubic metres
Malaysian firms offering merbau were getting
a month, concealed in hundreds of shipping
most of their supplies from Indonesia, even
containers and waved through by corrupt
though the logs were marked with white
customs officers.
stickers, indicating Malaysian origin, when
In Singapore, a hub for regional timber trade, the vessels reached the country.

Source: Private
the EIA/Telapak investigators obtained
evidence of a new smuggling route involving He said: “Still people bringing in from
barges carrying merbau from Papua to Indonesia. Now, I’m taking the main supplier
Malaysia, with the timber being transhipped because they have good connections in
en route and ultimately feeding sawmills in Indonesia… this merbau is from Indonesia,
the west of the country. but say the local origin is from Malaysia
ABOVE:
CV Lido warehouse - Illegal merbau
timber awaiting shipment to China.
MERBAU SMUGGLING – A meeting was arranged with the company
SPB Cons Marine & Imports Exports, one
because illegal logs.”
The meetings in Surabaya and Singapore

BACK IN BUSINESS of several firms in Singapore identified as confirm that illegal merbau is once again
offering merbau square logs and sawn timber flowing out of Papua, using different
of unknown origin. The director of the firm, smuggling methods and routes. Although the
“Prince” Santhana Krishnan Elavarasan, scale is less than the huge amounts being
In November 2005 EIA/Telapak investigators Sumandi took the EIA/Telapak investigators
had just arrived back in Singapore after shipped out in 2004, the level of smuggling
in Guangzhou, southern China, found many to the industrial area of Gresik, near
travelling to his sawmill in Port Klang, is rising.
timber traders priced out of the merbau Surabaya, where they were introduced
market and unable to get supplies from to Ricky Gunawan, director of Surabaya Malaysia, where he had been showing Efforts to combat merbau smuggling could
Indonesia. Instead they had turned to buying Exhibition and Trade Service and Sumandi’s prospective buyers a newly-arrived be improved dramatically by Indonesia listing
merbau logs from Papua New Guinea and business partner. Almost immediately consignment of two thousand cubic metres the species on Appendix III of the Convention
replacement species from Africa. Gunawan boasted of his ability to break of merbau logs smuggled from Papua. He on International Trade in Endangered
the law and to supply illegal merbau at low said that for the month of November he Species (CITES). Such a move would allow
But by early 2006 warning signs began expected to receive five thousand cubic
risk due to his connections. He claimed to unlicensed shipments of merbau to be seized
emerging of renewed flows of illegal metres of merbau stolen from Papua. BELOW (left to right):
ship up to three thousand cubic metres of in foreign ports. Indonesia agreed to such
Indonesian merbau reaching the international Singapore timber trader “Prince” deals
air-dried rough sawn merbau to China every Elavarasan explained how barges left a move in mid-2005 and won support from
market, as smugglers shifted to new methods in merbau logs stolen from Papua.
month. After sawing the logs in Gresik, he Papua laden with merbau and with a false key countries including China. Inexplicably
and routes. Rather than shipping round
explained how the wood was loaded into destination in Kalimantan, Indonesia. The the Indonesian government has failed to China remains the main market for
logs from Papua as before, syndicates were
containers at five different warehouses in vessels then divert to Sarawak or Sabah in implement such a listing. merbau smuggled from Indonesia.
reportedly smuggling sawn merbau and
the area and shipped to the Chinese ports of
square logs (flitches) in shipping containers
Shanghai, Huangpu, Shenzhen, Guangzhou
to China and India.
and Shantou. Around 50 containers a month
In November 2006 EIA/Telapak investigators were being delivered, with Gunawan dealing
set out to document these new smuggling with two main buyers – one Singaporean and
patterns and to gauge whether merbau one from Hong Kong.
smuggling from Papua is becoming
resurgent. The investigation centred on Connections in the Surabaya port
Surabaya, Indonesia’s largest port and customs office ensure the flow of merbau
a major timber processing centre, and is unhindered. Sumandi related how
Singapore, where many of the middlemen exports had been temporarily halted in
and traders involved in procuring illegal August 2006 after a contact in customs
Indonesian timber and moving it onto warned of spot checks in the port. “We have
international markets are based. supplied for one and a half years. Only two
weeks, we don’t supply them. It’s because of
In Surabaya EIA/Telapak investigators the checking by central government. But they
posing as timber buyers met with Riki won’t be long because (customs) need money

© Julian Newman / EIA / Telapak


Sumandi, director of the company CV also… all the people still need money. It goes
Lido. He revealed that CV Lido operates in up to the top.”
conjunction with several other companies
in Surabaya, forming an integrated group During the meeting the investigators
capable of sourcing merbau logs from Papua, were shown around a log yard owned by

Source: Private
sawing the timber at a number of locations the company Primazeta Mandiri, where
in Surabaya, and bribing customs to ship the syndicate’s logs were being stored.
containerised merbau to China. Finally the EIA/Telapak team was taken a

12 13
STATUS OF WANTED TIMBER CRIMINALS NOVEMBER 2004
James Tan (aka Acan) Illegal logging in Gunung Leuser National Park Case dropped due to lack of evidence
Abdul Rasyid Involved in illegal logging of Tanjung Puting National Park Case dropped due to lack of evidence
Ali Jambi Smuggling of timber from Riau, Sumatra to Malaysia Fugitive, three months sentence passed by court in 2001
and Singapore
Aweng Smuggling timber from Riau Whereabouts unknown
Chris Chandra Illegal logging in East Kalimantan Probationary sentence
Halim Timber smuggling from South Sumatra to Malaysia Cleared by the court
Marthen Rumadas Timber smuggling from Papua Probationary sentence

© Sam Lawson / EIA / Telapak


Ramli Ompong Illegal logging in East Kalimantan Case dropped due to lack of evidence
Tanoto Santoso Illegal logging in Sumatra Six-month prison sentence
Sundono Salim Illegal timber broker Whereabouts unknown
Eddy Sutaryo Falsifying timber documents Probationary sentence
Yongkie Timber smuggling from Papua Whereabouts unknown

THE UNTOUCHABLE TIMBER BARONS


ABOVE:
Enforcement usually fails to catch the
real culprits.

With chronic problems throughout being questioned by police in Sorong in May


Indonesia’s justice system, it comes as 2001 he was summoned by the Minister of
no surprise that the major timber barons, Forestry and removed from his position as
responsible for massive forest crimes, have head of the local forestry office.
never been apprehended, let alone put on
By 2005 Rumadas had allied himself with
trial. They are simply too well connected and
powerful forces involved in creating the
rich – attributes that put them literally above
new province of Irian Jaya Barat, and was
the law.
busy building a power base in the capital
Since the first list of wanted timber barons Manokwari. By the time he was arrested
was published in 2000, presidents, ministers, under OHL II in March he had become head of
and heads of police have come and gone with the forestry office for Irian Jaya Barat. He was
the same depressing results – a handful of reported to have been found guilty of timber
minor prosecutions. The story of the hunt for permit violations and sentenced to six months
Indonesia’s biggest timber criminals is one in jail, but was immediately released on the
of abject failure by the country’s enforcement bizarre basis that as his trial had lasted six
agencies and judicial system. months he did not have to serve his sentence,

© EIA / Telapak
despite not having being detained during the
The first individual to try and tackle the
trial. After walking free from court he began
barons was Suripto, then Secretary-General
distributing tee-shirts around Manokwari with
of the Ministry of Forestry. In October 2000
the slogan “Victim of OHL II”. He even rose
he published a list of 14 syndicates, featuring
to the position of Regional Secretary (Sekda),
18 individuals, which he claimed were the
effectively becoming the most powerful
leading bosses of illegal logging in the
individual in the province while the election Other reports put the number of names on the be studying in China, and ran a check which ABOVE:
country.(33) The list covered those involved
process for the governorship was underway. list of top timber barons at 50, but it hardly confirmed Lis was wanted by the police in North Asean Premier – seized off Papua
in timber theft from Sumatra to Papua
matters. No matter how short or how long the Sumatra. A dramatic apprehension took place in 2002 with US$2 million of
and was passed to the Attorney General’s Soon after becoming Minister of Forestry in
list those on it seem able to evade capture with when he tried to escape with the help of a gang. illegal logs. No prosecution.
Office. By the time Suripto was ousted from October 2004 Kaban reportedly sent a list of
ease. Although many on the list have moved Embassy staff resisted and Lis was flown back to
the ministry the following year none of the 19 names of the major timber barons to the
their money overseas and set up businesses in face trial.(38)
targets had been caught, although by the end Attorney General’s Office, and by February
the neighbouring safe haven of Singapore, they
of 2001 a three month in abstencia sentence 2005 the list had grown to 59 names and The fact that Lis was not even on the top
frequently return to Indonesia to keep a watch on
has been passed on one of the barons, Ali had been sent to the police as well. Minister illegal loggers list and was finally caught by
their interests.
Jambi, and a senior forestry official from Kaban told a parliamentary committee: civilian embassy staff shows how pitiful the
Papua, Marthen Rumadas, had been removed “We have reported the businessmen to The abysmal record of the police in failing police’s efforts have been to catch the main
from his position.(34) the two institutions but there has been no to apprehend well-known timber barons is barons still at large in Indonesia. The apparent
response yet”.(35) By September 2006 nobody illustrated by one of the most high profile cases lack of coordination between the police and
The case of Rumadas is especially interesting
on the list had been arrested.(36) of illegal logging to date – that of Adelin Lis. the Ministry of Forestry when it comes to
as it shows the total lack of consistency in
He was accused of illegal logging in North defining the main targets also exposes problems
Indonesian law enforcement. At the time of Many of the names on Kaban’s first list
Sumatra and disappeared during the police with the effectiveness of the Inpres issued in
appearing on Suripto’s list Rumadas was a also featured as Suripto’s main targets.
investigation. In September 2006 he turned up 2005. A solution would be the creation of a
senior local forestry official in Sorong, Papua, In November 2004 the national police gave
at the Indonesian Embassy in Beijing to renew powerful task force to hunt down the real top
and was accused of coordinating timber an update on the progress in catching
his passport. A quick-witted embassy official timber criminals.
smuggling from west Papua. Shortly after the suspects.(37)
was suspicious of the 50-year old’s claim to

14 15
© Telapak / EIA
© Telapak / EIA ABDUL RASYID – ABOVE THE LAW ALI JAMBI – THE RAMIN KING
Abdul Rasyid and his family-owned Ali Jambi is the pseudonym for Hap Ali,
company Tanjung Lingga Group were a powerful timber smuggler who also
first identified by EIA/Telapak as being uses the aliases Jambi Lee, Ali Yulianto,
behind the rampant illegal logging of Ali Bunton and Jenggo. Ali, a 37-year old
Tanjung Puting National Park, Central native of Jambi Province, Sumatra, has
Kalimantan in 1999.(39) earned a fortune shipping ramin timber
across the Melaka Straits to Singapore
Rasyid was born in the nearby town of
and Malaysia.
Pangkalanbun and from humble origins
built a multi-million dollar business Ali featured on Suripto’s list in October
based on illegal logging. Through astute 2000, and by mid-2001 police in Riau

© Telapak / EIA
connections with the local military and Province, the site of huge illegal ramin

© Sam Lawson / EIA / Telapak


government officials Rasyid was able to cutting, declared the investigation into
loot the park of its valuable ramin timber Ali’s activities was complete. He was
with impunity, and became the de facto reportedly sentenced to three months
boss of Pangkalanbun. At the height of in jail but fled before the sentence was
his illegal business sales of stolen logs carried out.(41)
were bringing him around US$30 million Despite his fugitive status Ali was able
a year. Such a huge income helped fund to keep the illegal ramin flowing out
a lavish lifestyle, with mansions and of Riau’s swamp forests. EIA/Telapak
money to fly pop stars from Jakarta on Hong Kong would then find buyers on the investigators in August 2001 witnessed
chartered planes to sing at his parties. international market for the illicit cargo, a flotilla of Indonesian wooden ships
When in 2000 his name appeared producing a profit of around US$100 lined up at the port of Melaka. Local

© Dave Currey / EIA / Telapak


on Suripto’s list he transferred the per cubic metre for Rasyid, paid into his traders revealed how ramin logs could be
day-to-day running of his timber empire Singapore bank account. obtained in Riau for just US$20 per cubic
to three nephews – Sugianto, Agustiar Efforts to prompt a serious investigation metre, and sold in Melaka for US$160 –
and Yadi – and embarked on a political of Rasyid and his assets have proven a huge profit for those with the
career, becoming a member of the fruitless. Despite reports that his connections to safely smuggle the illegal
national People’s Consultative Assembly parliamentary immunity had been ramin across the narrow straits.(42)
for the province of Central Kalimantan. stripped by then President Wahid in
© Sam Lawson / EIA / Telapak At this time Ali was running a fleet of
2001 there was no genuine investigation around 60 wooden vessels ferrying ramin
Despite stepping back from day-to- unhindered due to close connections with
day running of the business, he still by either the police or the Attorney “Jambi Lee”. They described him as still involved in timber smuggling.
General’s Office. the navy and customs in Sumatra. By the
maintained considerable influence. time of his 30th birthday Ali is reported “the ramin king”, responsible for virtually
When three cargo ships were captured From follow-up calls it appears that Ali
Rasyid now has little involvement with to have made his first million dollars. all the ramin smuggled out of Riau.
off Pangkalanbun in November 2001 now divides his time between Singapore,
the timber side of Tanjung Lingga’s He was said to hold a senior position
carrying timber linked to Tanjung By 2001 Ali, perhaps feeling his illicit where he enjoys Permanent Resident
business, although the nephews are in an organised crime gang, have
Lingga, he used his influence to ensure business was becoming too well known status, and Peninsular Malaysia,
still shipping out illegal sawn timber strong connections to avoid interference
the investigation was quashed. Soon and allegedly on the run, had shifted to procuring illegal timber supplies from
from Pangkalanbun. Instead Rasyid has from the Indonesian authorities and to
afterwards Rasyid began spending more ABOVE (left to right): Singapore, establishing a company and his associates still in Riau and moving
moved into the highly profitable and less own mansions in Sumatra, Batam
time in Singapore, where he bought a Abdul Rasyid. living in an exclusive part of town. the wood onto international markets.
risky business of oil palm plantations, and Singapore.(43)
house worth around US$2 million in the Meanwhile the police in Riau claim he is
setting up the Singapore-based company Tanjung Puting National Park. In late 2003 EIA/Telapak investigators In March 2006 EIA/Telapak investigators still on their wanted list.
up-market Newton Circus area. Kalimantan Import and Export in 2004 to picked up his trail in the Malaysian
Illegal log rafts. visited the Gaung River area of Riau, a
The three ships case reveals how Rasyid trade palm oil.(40) port of Pasir Gudang, Johor State. hotspot for illegal activities. Along one
and Tanjung Lingga formed one link in The uncontrolled spread of oil palm Within the port a highly lucrative ramin of the main rivers the team came across
transhipment operation had sprung up. ABOVE (top to bottom):
an international timber smuggling racket plantations has been identified as the Ali’s main sawmill, named Ramindo.
Again wooden ships were bringing rough Ali Jambi.
overseen from Hong Kong. Rasyid and biggest threat facing Tanjung Puting Although the site appeared inactive,
close associates like Heng Ijat Hong (aka National Park, so it is no surprise to sawn ramin across from Riau. Once in the a foreman said that the boss “Jenggo” Illegal ramin supplied by Ali Jambi – Pasir Gudang port,
Ahong) would use their connections to see Rasyid moving into this business. port it was air-dried, containerised and had moved to Singapore. Further Malaysia, 2003.
gather stolen logs and ensure that the Once more he is profiting from the shipped to China. investigations around the region revealed Illegal ramin logs arriving in Melaka, Malaysia, 2001.
operation was not interfered with by the destruction of Central Kalimantan’s Shipping agents in the port identified that although Ali no longer appears
authorities. Middlemen in Singapore and dwindling forests. the main supplier of the illegal ramin as active in Gaung, his close associates are

16 17
Kuala Lumpur
Port Klang

Kuala Linggi

Rupat Batu Pahat

Pasir Gudang
S. Bukit Batu Jurong Port
S I N G A P O R E
S. Siak Kechil Tanjung
Balai Karlmun

Batam Island

© Sam Lawson / EIA / Telapak


Pekanbaru
S. Kampar

THE PROCEEDS OF CRIME RIAU PROVINCE

S. Gaung

MALAYSIA – RECEIVING STOLEN GOODS


It is not just the domestic timber barons Efforts to create a cooperative timber
who have profited from the decimation enforcement system for East Asia have also
of Indonesia’s forests. The global timber produced few results, despite cross border
industry has willingly sucked in the trade in illegal timber being worth around
estimated 30 million cubic metres of US$2.5 billion a year.(45) The best hope in The widespread smuggling of illegal unimpeded by enforcement agencies which do ABOVE:
illegal logs leaving Indonesia each year in the arena of international cooperation is the Indonesian timber into Malaysia has been not have the powers to intercept it. Map: Timber smuggling routes from Riau,
the first half of the decade, and has largely European Union’s Forest Law Enforcement, well-documented. For years logs and sawn Indonesia to Peninsular Malaysia.
turned a blind eye to the illegal nature of the Governance and Trade (FLEGT) initiative. timber have moved from Sumatra into the SMUGGLING ACROSS
raw materials. FLEGT envisages Voluntary Partnership West Malaysian ports of Batu Pahat, Kuala THE MELAKA STRAITS
Agreements (VPAs) with major timber Linggi, Muar and Port Klang. Much of this
From the countries in the region with timber feeds Malaysia’s wood processing A series of investigations carried out by
producing countries under which only timber
major wood processing industries – notably EIA/Telapak in Riau Province and the west
© Sam Lawson / EIA / Telapak

verified as legal will be allowed to enter the sector, whilst significant quantities are also
Malaysia, China and Vietnam – fed by timber transhipped to third countries such as China. coast of Peninsular Malaysia between March
market. Both Indonesia and Malaysia have
stolen from Indonesia, to the main consumer and June 2006 reveal that despite improved
begun negotiations with the EU for such an In the face of international concern over the
markets of Europe, the US and Japan which enforcement on both sides, timber smuggling
agreement, with a target date of 2007 to scale of illegal timber laundering by Malaysia
buy wooden products derived from the illegal remains rife and deeply entrenched.
sign the deal. The VPA with Indonesia the government took the commendable step
supplies, all are complicit in the crime.
cannot come soon enough – between of banning the import of Indonesian logs in Large quantities of timber from the Gaung
Analysis of the supply chain for stolen timber October 2005 and September 2006 the EU June 2002, in effect a reciprocal measure to River, Bukit Batu River and Rupat Island in
demonstrates that much of the profit is made states imported US$70 million worth of sawn back up Indonesia’s log export ban. The ban Riau are being shipped across daily to the
ABOVE (top to bottom): outside Indonesia. In 2004 research revealed timber from Indonesia, despite such exports was extended to include all square logs with ports of Batu Pahat and Pasir Gudang in
Zhangjiagang, China. World’s biggest tropical that merbau logs stolen from Papua were being banned.(46) a cross section greater than 60 square inches Johor State, Kuala Linggi in Melaka State,
log trading port. worth US$120 per cubic metre when loaded in mid-2003. and Port Klang in Selangor State. While the
Indonesian timber smuggled to Malaysia.
onto vessels, a value that doubled to US$240 bulk of the contraband is rough sawn timber,
upon arrival in Chinese ports. Once processed Since then enforcement of the regulations EIA/Telapak also documented large flitches
into solid wooden flooring and sold in Europe in Peninsular Malaysia has produced some and ramin timber entering Malaysian ports, in
or the US the price reached a staggering notable successes, with officers from the contravention of the country’s import laws.
US$2,000.(44) Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB),
the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency RIAU – SPORADIC ENFORCEMENT
With such profits it is not surprising that and customs making a series of seizures.
efforts to persuade other countries to turn Yet recent investigations by EIA/Telapak in During a one-week investigation in the
back shipments of timber stolen from Sumatra and Peninsular Malaysia reveal that coastal areas of Riau, EIA/Telapak saw
Indonesia have been frustratingly slow. timber smuggling is still widespread, with the impact of improved enforcement in
For instance China signed an agreement the efforts of the enforcement agencies being some areas, notably Dumai and Bengkalis,
with Indonesia in 2002 to cooperate in undermined by a timber industry while in the region of Indragiri Hilir the
tackling illegal logging and associated which refuses to stop dealing in stolen smuggling business appeared virtually
trade, yet when confronted with evidence of Indonesian timber. unscathed by alleged recent clampdowns
massive imports of illegal merbau logs from
across the province.
Papua, the Chinese government chose to do Furthermore, despite direct appeals from
nothing. When Indonesian officials tried to Indonesia, the Malaysian government refuses Within Indragiri Hilir much of the wood
kick start the agreement in 2005, they were to extend its prohibition to include rough industry is concentrated along the Gaung
told that the Chinese government had yet to sawn timber, which its neighbour has banned River. While most of the sawmills visited
nominate which ministry should deal with from export. Large amounts of Indonesian initially claimed timber could no longer be
illegal logging. sawn timber are flowing into Malaysia, exported, they soon revealed how a small

18 19
number of key “agents” in the area could still He named one of his regular customers in
regularly ship illicit timber to Batu Pahat, Kuala Linggi as Lee Beng Koh Enterprises.
Pasir Gudang and Jurong port in Singapore. Later the investigators were introduced to
a local army officer, who explained that the
The investigators were introduced to one
timber smuggling business was still possible,
such agent - Haji Aziz, based in Tembilahan
as long as connections were established with
town and described by some as ‘the craftiest
the right military personnel. He described
smuggler in Gaung’. He revealed that his
how Rupat Island is divided up into different
four vessels regularly smuggle timber across
spheres of influence by corrupt army and
the straits, and led the investigators to
navy staff.
view one of his ships being prepared for
departure. The large wooden boat was loaded
with over one hundred tonnes of sawn timber PENINSULA MALAYSIA –
bound for Batu Pahat which had been ordered CLOSE ONE EYE
by a Malaysian trader who is a regular
customer. Aziz explained how coconuts are Following the Riau investigation the EIA/

© Sam Lawson / EIA / Telapak


piled on top of the timber to disguise the Telapak investigators travelled to Peninsular
cargo and said the fee for transporting the Malaysia to follow up leads obtained from the
wood was Rp 1 million per tonne (US$108), Indonesian traders. The team visited Kuala
including bribes. Linggi and Port Klang, and obtained evidence
of a well-connected group of traders still
Another trader met by EIA/Telapak was busily importing illegal Indonesian timber.
a corrupt police officer named Asmar. He
offered to both obtain timber and to arrange In Kuala Linggi port the investigators
its safe transport to either Pasir Gudang or entered the Tasik Fajar wharf, where
Jurong wharf in Singapore. He and his two numerous shipments of Indonesian timber The case of Said bin Yusof, MP for Jasin (an Nguik led the EIA/Telapak investigators
partners run a fleet of ten vessels and pay up had been documented in previous years. area covering Kuala Linggi port), shows how to a sawmill near Port Klang called Turbo
powerful political interests are involved in the Fame. During the visit, traders at Turbo
on-going trade in illegal Indonesian timber Fame sold Nguik 12 tonnes of ramin sawn
through Kuala Linggi. The story first came timber, which Nguik confirmed had all

© Sam Lawson / EIA / Telapak


to light when a customs officer reported how originated from Indonesia. Company records
the MP had asked him to “close one eye” to reveal that Jimwood’s other directors include
a shipment of timber from Indonesia which former Minister of Science, Technology
contravened Malaysian law.(47) and Environment Datuk Seri Law Hieng
The ensuing political scandal reached the Ding, once again indicating the high level
office of the Malaysian Prime Minister. of political influence enjoyed by Malaysian
The Jasin MP claimed that he only intervened traders dealing in illegal Indonesian wood.(50)
to try and help local businesses: “Even
though I have been a forwarding agent for the While in Klang EIA/Telapak gathered
past 14 years, I met the customs officials as information showing how illegal Indonesian

© Hakcipta Terpelihara / Foto BERNAMA


an MP to help the businessman.” he said.(48) square logs are being transshipped through
© EIA / Telapak

© EIA / Telapak
the port en route to China. Returning to the
Yet company investigations undertaken Turbo Fame mill the investigators witnessed
by EIA/Telapak reveal that Yusof had a truck arriving at the site carrying square
a personal interest in undermining the logs above the permitted size. The owner of
customs enforcement. His freight forwarding the company confirmed that the timber was
ABOVE (left to right): to US$4,000 in bribes each trip, especially The situation around the port was tense, due company, Binyu Sof Enterprise, handles all
Coconuts used to conceal smuggled timber. in the areas of Tanjung Balai Karimun and to an enforcement operation prompted by the from Indonesia, and said that the wood would
the shipments of Indonesian timber arriving
Batam Island where the vessels sail close to recent interference in a timber seizure by a be sawn and shipped overseas. At a nearby
Gaung River, Riau’s main timber at Kuala Linggi. In addition the MP is also
the shore. local parliamentarian called Mohammad Said location operated by trader Alan Chong, EIA/
smuggling centre. director of the company Pelabuhan Kuala
bin Yusof. Telapak saw illegal Indonesian flitches being
Further north EIA/Telapak visited traders Linggi (Melaka), which operates the Tasik
loaded into containers for export to China. ABOVE (top to bottom):
in the Bengkalis area. Several spoke of A worker at the wharf explained there are Fajar wharf.(49)
Unloading Indonesian timber at Kuala
improved enforcement affecting their around seven different traders who regularly Linggi port.
While in Kuala Linggi EIA/Telapak were
business, with logs being hidden in remote bring in Indonesian timber through Tasik told that flitches arriving at the port were Trucks ferry Indonesian timber from Kuala
areas along the Bukit Batu River until the Fajar, naming the biggest one as Lee Beng often loaded onto trucks and driven further Linggi to Port Klang, Malaysia.
coast is clear. One trader called Zamhur Koh Enterprises. This firm alone is reportedly north to Port Klang, one of Malaysia’s main
claimed to regularly ship banned ramin receiving up to 2,000 tonnes of Indonesian Jasin MP Said Bin Yusof.
container terminals.
timber to a Malaysian trader in Batu Pahat. timber a month. Later the investigators
In Rupat Island, a centre for illegal logging met with Ah-Chan from Lee Beng Koh, who The investigators travelled to Port Klang and
of ramin in previous years, the investigators claimed that it was the seizure by customs of met with Jack Nguik, director of the company
were told that business had become more one of his shipments of Indonesian flitches Jimwood, which regularly ships CITES-listed
difficult, and vessels now left at night to which prompted the MP to intervene. Wood ramin wood to Europe and Asia. Nguik told
escape detection. In the town of Lechak a traders in the port had become increasingly investigators that he often buys illegally
trader called Aiseng explained how he and concerned about the enforcement by customs, imported Indonesian sawn ramin from local
two associates are still able to move timber and had turned to the MP for help. Ah-Chan traders in Peninsular Malaysia, and that he
out to Kuala Linggi port through good claimed: “He’s working for us. Our boats are is able to export it disguised as Malaysian
connections with the local military. all under his control… during the elections, origin by mixing it with indigenous ramin.
we were the ones who gave him money.”

20 21
© Robin Ong / TEMPO

© EIA / Telapak
logging appear to fall outside its scope. Many of the perpetrators of one of the worse ABOVE (left to right):
financial crimes ever committed found their Sukanto Tanoto – High Net Worth Individual
Recently the Indonesian government used

© EIA / Telapak
way to Singapore. The Bank Indonesia and Singapore resident.
the UN Convention Against Corruption to
Liquidity Assistance scandal took place in
secure the assistance of the United Kingdom Tanoto’s Singapore mansion.
the later 1990s, at the height of the regional
in freezing a bank account linked to Tommy
economic crisis. The central bank gave out
Suharto, son of the former Indonesian
US$13.5 billion to 48 of the country’s banks
president. This form of cooperation is not an
to avoid their collapse. Of these funds 99

SINGAPORE – A SAFE HAVEN


ABOVE: option when it comes to Singapore, as the
per cent were misused by the bank owners,
Singapore’s financial district country has yet to ratify the convention.
money which was effectively stolen from the
– confidentiality guaranteed.
Investigations undertaken by EIA/Telapak state at a time of crisis and hardship for most
The small island-state of Singapore is a derived by legitimate means, a substantial reveal that Singaporean banks are preferred of the population.(56) Agus Anwar, head of
key accomplice in the forest crimes carried portion comes from crimes carried out in for opening letters of credit for numerous Bank Pelita, was charged with stealing
out in Indonesia. Money derived from illegal Indonesia. Indonesian officials have recorded deals involving Indonesian logs. In 2004 Rp 1.89 trillion (US$210 million) and
logging is laundered through its secretive cases of at least 200 individuals who owe the Hong Kong timber trader Shelman Siu promptly moved to Singapore, where he
banks, its shipping companies carry the state money sheltering in Singapore over the told investigators that most of the payments obtained citizenship. While Indonesia bears
timber overseas, and its wood traders sell last seven years.(52) by Chinese buyers for illegal merbau the bulk of the responsibility for failing
the stolen goods onto the international logs from Papua were made through to arrest suspects before they flee, an
market. Indonesian government officials Conscientious banker Andy Xie revealed his Singaporean banks. extradition between the two neighbours
have been critical of the lack of cooperation personal opinion of Singapore’s financial would support the efforts of those trying to
success in a leaked email sent to colleagues. Analysis of the activities of timber tycoon
from their Singaporean counterparts when reform the justice system in Indonesia.
Wie, former Chief Economist in Asia for Abdul Rasyid show that a series of payments
it comes to anti-money laundering and for illegal logs flowed into his personal Another powerful Indonesian tycoon
extradition of fugitives. Morgan Stanley, wrote: “Actually, Singapore’s
success came mostly from being the money account in Singapore, and the business who found refuge in Singapore is
A recent study of the Asia Pacific region’s laundering centre for corrupt Indonesian account of one of his partners. Although Sukanto Tanoto, recently named as
dollar millionaires found that of the businessmen and government officials.”(53) Rasyid bought property in Singapore, he Indonesian wealthiest person with family
55 000 resident “High Net Worth Individuals” did not opt to take out Singaporean assets of US$2.8 billion.(57) Sukanto was
in Singapore, 18 000 are from Indonesia. Predictably efforts to retrieve some of the Permanent Resident Status, a course of wanted by the police in connection with the
The whole of Indonesia has only 17 000 illicit money stashed away in Singapore action followed by Ali Jambi. Such a status failure of Unibank in 2001, a bank he
millionaires. More rich Indonesians choose often fail. Yunus Husein, chairman of can be obtained for an investment of around owned which collapsed with Rp 3.9 trillion
to live in Singapore than in their own Indonesia’s PPATK, said: “It’s very hard half-a-million US dollars, and proof of an (US$429 million) in debt. Despite an
country for a number of reasons, but an to get information from Singapore. When “entrepreneurial background”. instruction being issued by the Indonesian
important one is the secrecy of the banking we asked them to help us (track down) government banning him from leaving the
The lack of an extradition treaty between the
system. The study quotes a banker as the money, they always say that... it’s not country, Sukanto managed to abscond
two neighbours adds to the attractiveness
saying: “In following Switzerland’s model their problem.”(54) to Singapore.
of the island-state for Indonesians fleeing
for banking secrecy, only Luxembourg even Singapore has robust internal rules under the justice. Requests for such a treaty from the Sukanto is also owner of the Raja Garuda
begins to come close to Singapore,” adding Prevention of Money Laundering Act of 2002. Indonesian government date back to the Mas Group, which includes the Singapore-
that the Singaporean government assures A central element of the act is the “Know 1970s, with formal negotiations not starting based pulp and paper company Asia Pacific
client confidentiality for those choosing to Your Customer” initiative, a legal requirement until early 2005. Talks between the two sides Resources International Holding Ltd.
bank there.(51) under which financial institutions are legally have been through nine rounds – usually two (APRIL). The company has cleared vast
Assets held by wealthy Indonesians living in required to report suspicious transactions to or three rounds are sufficient – and still the tracts of land in Sumatra to feed its pulp
Singapore total a staggering US$87 billion, the authorities. Yet the scheme only applies treaty has not been signed. Singapore’s latest mills, and has been accused on a number of
more than Indonesia’s annual state budget to transactions linked to serious crime or delaying tactic is to insist that the extradition occasions of receiving timber from forests
for 2006. While much of this wealth has been terrorism, and revenues derived from illegal treaty must be signed at the same time as a with a high conservation value and from
defence treaty.(55) illegal sources inside national parks.(58, 59)

22 23
REFERENCES
1. Tacconi L, Obidzinski K, Agung F, “Learning 35. Laksamana Net, “SBY Orders Arrest of IL
Lessons to Promote Certification and Control Bosses”, 23rd February 2005.
Illegal Logging in Indonesia”, CIFOR 2004. 36. Tempo Magazine, “Fallen in the Forests”, 25th
2. Suripto (Member of Commission 1, Indonesian September 2006.
Parliament), “Transnational Crime of Illegal 37. Kompas, “Indonesia Police Name 12 Illegal
Logging”, presentation to EIA/Telapak Timber Barons”, 12th November 2004.
workshop, September 2006. 38. Tempo Magazine, “Razing the Batang Gadis
3. Xinhua, “Illegal Logging Destroying Last Forest”, 2nd October 2006.
Strongholds of Orangutans in Southeast Asia: UN 39. EIA/Telapak, “The Final Cut”, 1999.
report”, 6th February 2007. 40. Singapore Registry of Companies and
4. EIA/Telapak, “The Last Frontier”, 2005. Businesses, 2006.
5. Agence France Presse, 7th March 2005. 41. Kompas, “Indonesia Police Name 12 Illegal
6. Tempo Magazine, “Money and Influence”, 20th

© Dave Currey / EIA / Telapak


Timber Barons”, 12th November 2004.
November 2006. 42. EIA/Telapak, “Timber Trafficking”, 2001.
7. Tempo Magazine, “The Rape of Merbau”, 43. EIA/Telapak, “Profiting from Plunder”, 2004.
7th March 2005.

THE VERDICT
44. EIA/Telapak, “The Last Frontier”, 2005.
8. Rancangan Peraturan Pemerintah Penngganti 45. EIA/Telapak, “Stemming the Tide”, 2005.
Undang-Undang Tentang Permberantasan Tindak 46. Eurostat, 2007.
Pidana Penebangan Pohon di Dalam Hutan 47. New Straits Times, “Customs Ignored MP’s
Secara Ilegal, 2004. Request”, 4th May 2006.
9. Laksamana Net, “Indonesia’s Illegal Logging 48. The Star, “‘I asked department to be lenient’”,

© Sam Lawson / EIA / Telapak


Regulation Axed?”, 22nd October 2004. 5th May 2006.
10. Rancangan undang-undang Perbarantasan 49. Companies Commission of Malaysia, 2006.
Indonesia’s justice system has failed to prosecute those responsible for • Formally request that timber trading Tindak Pidana Penebangan Pohon di Dalam
50. Companies Commission of Malaysia, 2006.
Hutan Secara Ilegal, 2005.
orchestrating the massive illegal logging epidemic which has spread across the partners put in place measures to 11. Republic of Indonesia Presidential Instruction
51. Capgemini & Merrill Lynch, “Asia-Pacific Wealth
country. Since 2005 the government has taken commendable steps to reduce Report” 2006.
prevent the import of Indonesian no. 4, 2005.
52. Tempo Magazine, “New Heaven for Indonesian
illegal logging and timber smuggling. Such actions have affected logging rough sawn wood. 12. Asia Pulse, “President Concern over Light
Millionaires”, 24th October 2006.
operations in the field, but have not reached the power structure behind the Punishment for Log Thieves”, 8th October 2006.
53. Bloomberg, “Singapore Pundit in Hot Water Over
timber theft. The recent progress is fragile. Intelligence suggests timber • List merbau on Appendix III of the 13. Jakarta Post, “RI judiciary worse than first
Email”, 6th October 2006.
Convention on International Trade in thought: UN rapporteur”, 22nd July 2002.
smuggling is on the rise again, as the timber bosses realise they are immune 54. Dow Jones, “Indonesia Anti-Money-Laundering
14. Indonesia Corruption Watch, “Lifting the Lid”,

© Nick Lyon / Cockroach Productions


from prosecution. Urgent action in needed to maintain the offensive against the Endangered Species (CITES), with 2002.
Head Criticizes Singapore”, 29th May 2006.
timber thieves and to preserve Indonesia’s remaining forests. a limited export quota for processed 55. Jakarta Post, “Indonesia, Singapore Disagree
15. EIA/Telapak, “Above the Law”, 2003.
over Extradition, Defence Treaties”
merbau products. 16. Star (Malaysia) 11th October 2006. 12th February 2007.
17. Jakarta Post, “We Cannot Force Parties to
THE GOVERNMENT OF Comply with the Law”, 20th November 2006.
56. Asia Times, “Indonesia Wins One in War on
Corruption”, 15th January 2006.
INDONESIA SHOULD: THE GOVERNMENT OF 18. EIA/Telapak, confidential investigation report,
June 2006.
57. Forbes Asia, September 2006.
58. Friends of the Earth, “Paper Tiger, Hidden
• Create a Strike Force to pursue major MALAYSIA SHOULD: 19. Jakarta Post, “Bad cops undermine illegal Dragons 2: April Fools”, February 2001.
logging raids”, 19th December 2005.
timber criminals. The team should 59. Walhi, Jikalahari, “Eyes of the Forest
• Issue a regulation banning the import 20. Tempo Magazine, “Mountain of Cases, Molehill Investigative Report”, July 2006.
be made up of key officials from the of Trials”, 7th March 2005.
of Indonesian sawn timber. 21. Tempo Magazine, “The Person Most Responsible
police, military, Attorney General’s
is Minister Kaban”, 6th November 2005.
Office, Ministry of Forestry, PPATK 22. Tempo Magazine, “Clear Cut Guilt”,
and KPK. THE GOVERNMENT OF 22nd November 2005.
• Agree the draft law on illegal logging SINGAPORE SHOULD: 23. Sahlan Said SH, Catatan Kritis Atas Putusan
Pengadilan Negeri Pontianak No. 453/PID.
as a priority. B/2004/PN.PTK, 2005.
• Conclude an extradition treaty with 24. Antara, “Minister Complains of Weak Law
• Conduct an independent review of Indonesia. Enforcement on Illegal Loggers”,
recent judicial decisions on illegal 26th January 2006.
• Ratify the UN Convention 25. Jakarta Post, “Probosutedjo Admits to Bribing
logging cases.
Against Corruption. Judges”, 12th October 2005.
• Openly publish indictments and 26. Jakarta Post, “15 Malaysians detained for illegal
• Extend its “Know Your Customer” logging”, 30th January 2004.
judicial decisions involving illegal
requirements for banks to include 27. Tempo Magazine, “Money and Influence”,
logging cases. 20th November 2006.
suspicious transactions involving
28. Jakarta Post, “Officials Hail Anti-illegal Logging
• Encourage civil society to monitor illegal logging. Operation”, 7th May 2005.
court cases involving illegal logging. 29. Tempo Magazine, “A Costly Experiment?”,
2th April 2005.
• Train judges and prosecutors to
better understand the forestry law,
MAJOR TIMBER CONSUMING 30. Jakarta Post, “Police, Minister Upset by Illegal
Logging Verdicts”, 5th July 2006.
anti-money laundering law, and anti- COUNTRIES SHOULD: 31. Kompas, “Combating IL Needs Commitment
from Supreme Court”, 25th January 2005.
corruption law. • Enact laws banning the import 32. EIA/Telapak, “The Last Frontier”, 2005.
• Train customs officers in key ports and sale of timber and wood products 33. Secretary-General, Ministry of Forestry, “Daftar

© Try Harijono / KOMPAS


obtained illegally in the country Orang-orang yang Diduga dan yang Sedang
to detect containerised shipments of Diproses Penyelidikan atau Pengadilan dalam
illegal timber. of origin. Rangka Penanggulangan Penebangan Liar”,
October 2000.
• Provide greater powers to the 34. Jakarta Post, “Action Taking Against Illegal
PPATK and Ministry of Forestry to Loggers”, 16th May 2001.
investigate cases.
24
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