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Duo charged with illegal logging in Sabah’s forest reserves and State land
Published on: Thursday, June 22, 2023
By: Jo Ann Mool
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Duo charged with illegal logging in Sabah’s forest reserves and State land
Tiong (second from right) and Yun (third from right) listening to their counsel, Aaron (right
Kota Kinabalu: A logging company owner and its manager were charged in the Sessions Court, Wednesday, with three counts of felling 707 logs illegally in Forest Reserves and State land in Sipitang and another count of having 274 logs for which the royalty was not paid.

Manager Tiong Chee Khong and owner Yun Ket Chun, both 49, who appeared before Judge Elsie Primus, pleaded not guilty and claimed trial to all the charges.

On the first count, Tiong and Yun were accused of felling 127 logs without being expressly authorised under the Forest Enactment 1968 in the Ulu Sungai Padas Forest Reserve in Sipitang between July 17, 2019 and Feb 4, 2020.

The duo, on the second count, allegedly felled 76 logs without being expressly authorised under the Forest Enactment 1968 in the Sipitang Forest Reserve in Sipitang also between July 17, 2019 and Feb 4, 2020.

On the third count, Tiong and Yun were accused of felling 504 logs illegally on State land near Kg Long Pasia, Sipitang also between July 17, 2019 and Feb. 4, 2020.

On the fourth count, the duo allegedly had without lawful authority or legal right 274 logs with a volume of 709.20 cubic meters, that had not been paid royalty, at 10.30am on Feb 7, 2020 in log storage, on the side of the logging road in Occupancy Permit No. JP(SOG)OP.132/2017 in Sipitang Forest Reserve, Sipitang.

The first and second counts were framed under Section 20(2) of the Forest Enactment 1968 while the third under Section 23(2) of the same Enactment. Each provides for a fine of up to RM500,000 and a jail term of between one year and 20 years on conviction.

The third charge is under Section 30(1)(g) of the Forest Enactment 1968 and punishable under Section 30(2)(b) of the same Enactment which provides for a fine of up to RM500,000 or a jail term of up to five years or both, on conviction.

Forestry Department prosecuting officer Peter Jack Empah proposed bail at RM50,000 in two sureties on each accused for all the charges.

Peter also applied for both accused not to tamper with the prosecution’s witnesses and for their respective international passports to be surrendered to the court.

Counsel Aaron Mark Pius, representing the accused together with counsel Chin Kok Seun, applied for a lower bail amount on the grounds that the RM50,000 proposed was too excessive as both accused were the breadwinners and never been found guilty or being charged with any offence before.

Aaron added that Tiong was bankrupt and had no flight risk.

The counsel also informed the court that all the mentioned logs had been seized by the Forestry Department and had been auctioned.

Elsie set July 27 for pre-trial case management and released each accused on RM10,000 bail on each charge.

The court also imposed additional conditions applied by the prosecution. Peter and Deputy Public Prosecutor Mas Izzaty Lokman prosecuted.

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