Stolen tangar tree bark worth RM350,000 found

Disposing the loot: A massive 10,000kg of stolen tangar tree barks was destroyed by state forestry officials in Sabah’s north eastern Beluran district.

KOTA KINABALU: Some 10,000kg of tangar tree bark illegally taken from a wetland forest reserve was found abandoned in Sabah’s north eastern Beluran district.

A team of policemen from the General Operations Force (GOF) working in collaboration with state Forestry Department and WWF Malaysia found the tangar bark worth RM350,000 in a boat that was apparently abandoned by the culprits.

Illegal lumber: An abandoned boat laden with tangar tree barks was seized by police.Illegal lumber: An abandoned boat laden with tangar tree barks was seized by police.

Sabah GOF commander Sr Asst Comm Abdul Rani Alias said that the bark is believed to have come from the swamp in the Sungai Paitan Forest Reserve, Jamboangan Island and also Sungai Sugut, all located in the east coast Beluran district.

He said the boat could have been brought in by the suspects from the Philippines.

The operation, codenamed Op Khazanah Bersepadu, was carried out at around 2pm on Friday.

The patrol team found an unregistered boat worth about RM85,000 during the operation but no one was found on board.

“Our team carried out further inspection of the surrounding area and did not find anyone in the location,” he said.

Forestry Department officials disposed of it by burning all the bark, including the boat.

Investigations were conducted in accordance with Section 23 of the Forestry Enactment 1968 and the Forest Regulations 1969.

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