Indonesia — The police have named 37 individuals and a representative of a company for their alleged involvement in rampant slash-and-burn techniques to clear forested lands for plantation development in Riau so far this year.
The police have been stricter against them as their reckless acts have caused widespread forest fires which led to thick and choking haze, thereby causing hazardous air pollution that disrupted daily activities of local people.
National Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Agus Rianto said that this year’s number of suspects related to forest fires in Riau was bigger than last year when the number of suspects reached 35, consisting of 33 individuals and two representatives of companies.
All of last year’s individual cases have entered the second phase (namely the questioning process), while the two others related to corporations have been in the trial process and wait for the issuance of verdicts,” Agus said in Jakarta on Wednesday as quoted by tribunnews.com.
In term of cases, Agus said, the police handled 35 forest fire cases this year. Up to 28 of them have been under questioning process, while remaining seven are still being investigated. The police named the 37 individuals and a representative of the company, identified only as PT NSP, as suspects from the 28 cases.
Based on the forest fire cases, the forest burning was detected only in eight out of 12 regencies in Riau, he said.
The suspects will be indicted for violating Law No. 41/1999 on Forestry, Law No.18/2004 on Plantations and Law No. 23/2009 on Environment Protection and Management.
They will face sentences up to 10 to 15 years in prison if they are found guilty, he added.