✦ ✦ Unlabelled ✦ Lin Sun Man: Korean Syndicates in Illegal Logging

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The Indonesian Embassy in China handed over a major illegal logging suspect, Adelin Lis, to the Attorney General's Office (AGO) on Saturday, after arresting him a day earlier in Beijing.

Adelin Lis, the former finance director of PT Keang Nam and a commissioner of PT Inanta Timber, is accused of being behind illegal logging in Mandailing Natal regency, North Sumatra, between 1998 and 2003. The timber thefts caused a total of some Rp 228.6 trillion (US$25.1 billion) in state losses.

North Sumatra Police have arrested a number of other suspects, including directors and managers of the two companies, while Adelin and the firms' other top officials, Adenan Lis and Korean Lin Sun Man, have been on the run for the past seven months.

Staff members at the Indonesian Embassy in Beijing came across Adelin by chance Thursday when the fugitive tried to get his passport renewed.

Their suspicions were aroused because Adelin, who is in his 50s, said he was a student, whereas Indonesian students in Beijing are generally younger than him.

His passport gave away his status as a fugitive and he was arrested at the embassy.

However, several hours later, he made a fleeting escape when Indonesian officials took him to the hospital after he said was seriously ill.

At the hospital, the four embassy officials were ambushed by 20 men.

It is not clear how Indonesian officials finally recaptured the suspect Friday.

"I don't have the authority to disclose that information. I am here only to escort him," prosecutor Jan S. Maringka said upon his arrival at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, as quoted by the Detikcom news portal.

Jan was sent to Beijing directly after the embassy reported the case to the AGO on Wednesday.

From the airport, the AGO flew Adelin directly to Medan, North Sumatra, for further investigation by local police.

Inanta Timber and Keang Nam are among dozens of plantation and timber companies accused of widespread illegal logging across North Sumatra.

Most of them were also blamed for starting forest and ground fires, sending chocking haze to the areas and neighboring countries

The Indonesia Forum for the Environment (Walhi), a leading environmental watchdog, reported that these plantation companies have produced an average of more than 40,000 hot spots per year on Sumatra.

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