TEMPO.CO, Pekanbaru - The government's task force tasked to seek the causes behind the haze-causing forest fires recently arrested encroachers. The team arrested eight people for encroaching and illegal logging in Bengkalis last Tuesday. They were caught at two villages, Air Raja and Bukit Lengkung at Bukit Batu Subdistrict.
"The patrol consists of 30 personnel from different units," Adj. Comr. Andry Wibowo, the Bengkalis District Police Chief, told Tempo on Wednesday, March 20, 2014.
He said that the task force caught four suspects red handed in the forest. Three of them are citizens of Tanjung Leban in Riau, while another is a citizen of Batu Bara Regency in North Sumatra. "All suspects are employees of the land owner, currently at large," he said.
The task force raided a wooden warehouse that allegedly contained illegal logs. The police arrested the warehouse owner, a resident of Balam, Rokan Hilir Regency, along with the suspect's three workers.
On the same day, the task force also arrested 10 other forest encroachers, confiscating their six excavators. One of them was the supervisor who has been named a suspect, while the other nine who were machine operators are being detained as witnesses. The suspect admitted that the 900-hectare land that they encroached belonged to (a cooperative.
"Police are still looking for the head of the cooperative," said Riau Police Chief, Condro Kirono.