Banda Aceh — Police in Aceh said Monday (August 27th) they arrested 21 Vietnamese nationals for suspected illegal logging in the protected Leuser Mountain National Park in Southeast Aceh, and for violating immigration laws, local media reported.
The suspects were arrested in a series of raids and roadblocks Sunday night. “Initial information came from local residents, which we developed and investigated. And finally we found them carrying wood,” local police chief Trisno Rianto told VIVAnews.
“We have enough evidence to charge six of them for violating laws in the forestry sector, while the others (are) suspected of visa violations,” The Jakarta Globe quoted him as saying.
The 15 suspected of violating their visas will be deported soon, he added.
Officials say a search of one van netted 9kg of gaharu, a precious and endangered wood, as well as three gaharu seedlings, all of which are believed to have been taken from the park.
Police suspect the Vietnamese nationals may be part of an international syndicate dealing in gaharu because of the high prices it fetches.
Khabar Southeast Asia