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Nearly 800 forestry offences in five years
Published on: Friday, October 28, 2016
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Sandakan: The Sabah Forestry Department has recorded a total of 789 cases in various forestry offences over the last five years involving foreigners from China, Philippines and Indonesia, among others. Some 62 cases involved forest reserve encroachment, 86 cases of timber felling, 197 cases of unpaid timber taxes and possession of timber without papers, while the rest were licence violations in the period 2012 to Sept 31 2016.

The department said a total of 486 individuals were held for various offences relating to forestry and 192 people charged and punished by the courts.

Confiscated timber and machineries that were auctioned brought in RM1,733,704 and RM495,120, respectively, it said.

Its Director Datuk Sam Mannan said 63 cases involving illegal felling of timber were recorded over the same period, mostly involving converted timber.

He noted the war against poachers has become more hostile and aggressive and this was why enforcement officers had been equipped with weapons.

He added a total of 70 cases involved encroachment into forest reserve used for cultivation.

On Thursday, he announced the setting up of a Protect Squad and K9 unit building to strengthen the protection and enforcement of Sabah's forests.

Some of the notable cases are as follows:

April 2009 – A poacher attacked by firing a shot near the Forest Checking Station at Sapagaya Forest Reserve at the Ulu Segama Malua Forestry Complex in Lahad Datu.

2015 – A forestry officer was attacked at Kampung Sugut Beluran.

2016 – A forest ranger in Kota Belud was attacked. The department also recorded several cases involving the arrest of a commander of a militant armed group from the Southern Philippines inside the Silabukan Forest Reserve in Lahad Datu.

The department also recorded several cases of agarwood poaching inside the Kalibi, Sepilok and Deramakot forest reserves in Sandakan and Lahad Datu.

On Sept 2 - Two China nationals were arrested for having in their possession agarwood and the canine tooth of a clouded leopard in Keningau.

They are now in court.

On Aug 8 this year, a 36-year-old Indonesian Dayak native was arrested for poaching agarwood inside the Deramakot Forest Reserve.

The poacher has so far been sentenced to five years' jail on four out of five charges against him.

The case which involves the discovery of the heads of several hornbill birds is still being heard in court.



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