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Thursday, February 05, 2004

Illegal logs passing through Malaysian port unhindered
Roger Harrabin, the environment correspondent for BBC Radio 4's Today programme, has teamed up with the Environmental Investigation Agency + Telapak to expose how thousands of tonnes of illegally logged Ramin timber from Indonesia are being laundered through Malaysian ports on to world markets...

You can listen to Roger's undercover interview with a middle man in the smuggling trade here...

Today, a new report has also been released by the EIA + Telapak entitled “Profiting From Plunder”, which details how endangered ramin wood from Indonesia, which is banned from international trade, is smuggled from Sumatra by sea to the Malaysian port of Pasir Gudang, in the state of Johor Baru. There the sawn timber is dried and given false certificates of origin, before being loaded into containers and shipped to Hong Kong + Shanghai. Once in China most of the ramin is manufactured into finished products such as picture frames + pool cues and exported to markets including the US and Europe.

Approximately, 3.8 million hectares of Indonesia is illegally logged each year and the EIA believes that (with the assistance of endemic corruption) one man, nicknamed “Jambi Lee”, is able to control much of the trade.

Ironically, between Feb 9 and 20, Malaysia will be hosting a conference of the parties (COP 7) to the Convention on Biological Diversity which will be discussing ambitious targets to achieve significant reductions in the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010.