‘Strong indication’ oil palm company is behind kidnapping of investigators

06.09.2016

Fires started to make way for oil palm crops in Indonesia. Photo: EIA/Telepak

A group of 100 men took a team of government environmental investigators hostage and threatened to burn them alive in Indonesia, on 2 September, while the officials were investigating illegal fires allegedly started by a palm oil company.

The mob was allegedly hired by Andika Permata Sawit Lestari (APSL), an oil palm company operating in Riau Province in Sumatra. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry said the team of officials was held captive until the following morning, when they were released after negotiations.

While being held, the investigators were allegedly told that they would be killed and dumped in a river. The Ministry said there were ‘’strong indications’’ that the men were operating under orders from APSL.

A few days after the episode, the company denied the allegations to The Jakarta Post, blaming the kidnapping on local farmers instead.

Ministry officials had been investigating fires in areas controlled by APSL. They found that more than 2,000ha had been illegally burned, and that there was strong evidence this had been done deliberately, to prepare the area for oil palm.

Click here to read more.

More from Blog

There Will Be Blood / Four key takeaways from our latest report

Continue reading
UK Environment Act / Analyses show exemptions would create dangerous loopholes

Continue reading

Leather / BMW fails to substantiate allegations against Earthsight’s research


Continue reading
It is essential that a mandatory public list of non-compliant businesses is included in the final regulation to curb EU-driven deforestation and forest degradation

Continue reading
Brazil / World’s largest sovereign wealth fund finds beef giant guilty of driving illegal deforestation

Continue reading
Grand Theft Chaco II / Paraguay Senate seeks accountability from government following Earthsight illegal deforestation exposé

Continue reading
EU anti-deforestation law / Suspect timber firms lobby for certified wood ‘green lane’ in draft proposal

Continue reading
Open letter / Paraguay must halt invasions, deforestation of indigenous Ayoreo lands

Continue reading
FSC hall of shame / The ethical wood label’s long line of scandals

Continue reading
Open letter / Ethical wood label FSC is no longer fit for purpose and must urgently reform

Continue reading

Stay up to date with all Earthsight news & updates

Receive email updates for the latest news and insights from Earthsight and be among the first to read our new investigations.

We keep your data secure and don’t share anything with third parties. Read full terms.