Timber Thieves Caught at Kutai National Park

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  • TEMPO.CO, Samarinda - Authorities of the Kutai National Park in East Kalimantan arrested two men suspected of stealing ironwood in the area. Both were caught separately and are now being questioned by investigators in Bontang.

    "They transported ironwood from the conservation area. We confiscated 65 wooden blocks," said Hernowo Supriyanto, the Kutai National Park manager, yesterday.

    The first suspect, Alyas bin Saleh, 60, was arrested at the Bontang-Sangatta axis road in Triden Sangkimah Lama area, Saturday last week. He was caught with 56 ironwood blocks on his Daihatsu Grand Max car.

    Hernowo said that the forest rangers had been patrolling the area since they received atip from local residents. They waited for the suspect to make his move before arresting him. Alyas had covered the wooden blocks with tarpaulin and added a pile of plastic bags filled with rice husks and empty fuel containers. The forest rangers are still pursuing the wooden supplier who managed to escape.

    Azis, 19, the other suspect, was arrested the previous day, after he was caught while transporting nine wooden blocks on a motorcycle. "Azis tried to attack the officers with a machete, but he was disarmed and no one got hurt," said Hernowo.

    Heri Hendro, a Kutai National Park investigator, said that both suspects had been indicted and were currently detained at the Bontang district police jail. "We are now looking for the mastermind behind the ironwood theft," he said.

    FIRMAN HIDAYAT