Greenpeace: We have 'proof' of wood-smuggling

ARMED with new evidence it says it collected in the past month, environmental activist group Greenpeace has embarked on a fresh campaign to stop what it claims is the smuggling of the tropical hardwood ramin from Sumatra to Singapore and Malaysia. 

At a press conference on Wednesday, the group presented pictures it had taken of ramin logs piled atop boats and said that these were being shipped from locations in Riau to destinations like Batu Pahat in Malaysia, and Singapore. 

The group claims the two countries play a key role in the large-scale smuggling of the wood, which is protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites). 

It also says the wood was logged illegally in Indonesia. 

Citing preliminary studies it conducted as proof, it added that the wood is made into items for re-export to places like the United States, Japan, China and the European Union without Cites permits. 

Greenpeace’s global project co-ordinator, Tim Birch, said the group was tracking the timber and it is being sent to Jurong Port, which its members are restricted from entering. 

But the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), which is responsible for the implementation and enforcement of Cites here, said it has not received any information of illegal ramin being imported from Singapore to date. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network  

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