The National Police said they had arrested another Malaysian citizen on Saturday for allegedly financing illegal logging in the country’s easternmost province of Papua. The head of the government’s anti-illegal logging task force, Brig. Gen. Suharto, said that Tie Sing Yew, 54, was apprehended near the Entikong border post in West Kalimantan province, where he was attempting to cross into Malaysia’s Sarawak state. “Right now the suspect is still being detained by the East Kalimantan Police. He will be brought to Jayapura on Sunday,” Suharto said as quoted by Antara. He said Tie was believed to be funding illegal logging and his name had earlier been placed on the immigration blacklist.
Tie was suspected of masterminding the smuggling of illegally logged timber from Papua to Malaysia, as well as running illegal logging operations in Kalimantan. Tie’s arrest adds to a long list of Malaysian suspects being detained by the Indonesian Police. Previously, the police arrested nine other Malaysians and one South Korean citizen on similar charges of financing illegal logging operations in Papua. “He (Tie) almost escaped from our country, but the immigration officials recognized him from the immigration blacklist,” said East Kalimantan Police chief of detectives Sr. Comr. Heru Setiawan. He said that Tie had attempted to return to Malaysia through Entikong as he thought that the security there would not be so tight.
After being questioned by the local police, Tie said he was the president of CV Makmur Abadi Trading, based in Brunei Darussalam, and owned 25 pieces of heavy equipment that was suspected of being used in illegal logging. Based on the results of police investigations, Tie is also suspected of smuggling illegal timber from Papua to Malaysia through Kalimantan. However, Tie denied all the charges. He said he had not realized that he had been placed on the immigration blacklist and claimed to have away from Papua for around six months.
The government has said that illegal logging is causing the country to lose over US$3 billion per year, with timber barons now targeting Papua as the forests on Java and Sumatra islands have already been plundered. Rapid deforestation due to massive illegal logging has produced devastating environmental consequences for both Indonesia and the Southeast Asian region, causing floods and landslides and shrouding nearby countries with haze from illegal fires set to clear land.