Subject: JP: Police seize 13.6 tons of sandalwood
September 30, 2003 Tuesday
Police seize 13.6 tons of sandalwood, JAKARTA POST
KUPANG, East Nusa Tenggara: The East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Police said on Monday they had seized at least 13,645 kilograms of sandalwood allegedly smuggled from neighboring East Timor.
NTT Police chief of detectives Sr. Comr. Priedji Tjiptoadi said the contraband was confiscated early on Sunday in Takari village, Kupang regency.
The wood, hauled by two trucks, was supposed to be sent to sandalwood distilling firm PT Tropicana Oil, he added.
"We are now holding the sandalwood as evidence. We are also questioning the owner of the wood as a suspect," Priedji said.
He said the quantity of the wood specified in documents shown by the truck drivers were inconsistent with the actual weight of the load being transported from Belu regency.
Eddy Tjandra, director of PT Tropicana Oil, told police investigators that the sandalwood was legal, citing its official forest product certificates and other legal documents.
However, he admitted that part of the seized wood was contraband bought by his company for Rp 56,000 per kilogram from people living in Belo and along the border of East Timor.
NTT forestry office head Sundoro Darmokusumo could not say whether the certificates for the sandalwood were valid or not, as he had not yet been notified about the case, but did mention that the Indonesian and East Timor governments had not yet reached any bilateral agreement on sandalwood trade.