19 Aug 2010

PNG officials swoop on Illegal logging op in remote Oro Province

6:17 pm on 19 August 2010

Papua New Guinea government officers have swooped on an illegal logging operation in a remote area in Oro province.

The Post Courier reports that the operation is believed to be run by a Chinese/Malaysian entity which was originally in the area conducting a cashew nut planting activity.

The government officers have reportedly unearthed a range of large equipment for a full-scale logging operation in an isolated area about two hours by motorised dinghy from Tufi.

Intelligence reports indicate that more barges with more equipment, vehicles and illegal Chinese nationals are heading that way.

Two companies are operating in the area, but are not registered with PNG's Investment Promotion Authority and have not properly consulted with customary landowners over logging.

The officers say they responded to calls from a local NGO concerned that helpless landowners are being suppressed by other locals acting as "hired thugs" for the loggers.

Popondetta police rounded up six Chinese nationals without legal documents.