Clampdown on illegal logging activities to continue despite shooting incident

Zarina Abdullah

KUALA TERENGGANU: The state Forestry Department will continue to target illegal logging activities in the district despite the shooting incident at Kampung Serdang, near the Bukit Bauk forest reserve here today.

State forestry director Datuk Ahmad Fadzil Abd Majid said the fact that a forestry enforcement officer and a mechanic was shot showed how desperate the illegal loggers were at ravaging the forest resources.

The shooting incident on Friday morning at 4am saw three shots fired, believed to be from an air rifle.

“In the incident, my officer and the mechanic, both in their 40s sustained injuries and bruises on their legs.

“They were shot at as soon as the mechanic repaired the excavator, which was to be driven back to Paka town and impounded as evidence,” he said.

The enforcement unit had been monitoring a group of illegal loggers identified as Geng Awang Bukit, and are believed to be active in the Bukit Bauk forest reserve.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the incident was unprecedented.

“The men were on duty to protect the forest resources from being illegally exploited.

“I am sad and I hope the police will arrest those responsible for shooting at the men,” he said, adding that he had received a report from the state Forestry Department that the two men were part of a 10-men enforcement unit who were on a stake out, checking into the illegal logging activities in the area.

Police are still investigating the identity of the assailant.