Illegal logging: Hunt on for 'Geng Awang Bukit'

Zarina Abdullah

DUNGUN: A hunt is on for an armed gang of illegal loggers, who opened fire on team members from the state Forestry Department here.

An enforcement team is hot on the heels of the culprits identified as “Geng Awang Bukit” after the shooting in Kampung Sedang, near the Bukit Bauk Forest Reserve, in the wee hours yesterday.

State Forestry director Datuk Ahmad Fadzil Abd Majid said two men, one from the department and the other a mechanic, were injured after being shot with what appeared to be air rifles.

Both were taken to the district hospital for treatment, he said.

The two were part of a team despatched to Kampung Sedang to investigate claims of illegal logging near the forest reserve on Friday at 5.30pm.

“We received information that an excavator broke down in the vicinity,” he said, adding that was why they brought along a mechanic.

After locating the site where the excavator had broken down, the team worked on starting the machinery to drive it to Paka.

“When they were about to leave, the team heard three shots.

The officer was shot in his leg and the mechanic in his thigh,” Fadzil said.

Pellets and ball bearings were found at the scene after the shooting.

“The incident left the team members traumatised,” he said, adding that the department would track down the gang and bring them to justice.

Items such as fuel tanks, logs, keys and parang were seized from the illegal logging site.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the government was concerned about the incident.

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

“The injuries could have been worse. I hope those responsible will be arrested soon.”

Wan Junaidi said he had received a report from the state Forestry Department that the men were part of a 10-man enforcement unit that was on a stake-out in the area.