ASIAN SUSPECTS CHARGED IN SOLOMONS LOGGING THEFT

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Tubi tree logs shipped without license

By Assumpta Piva HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Sept. 1, 2010) - Three Asian men accused of trying to export seven containers of tubi tree logs using a milling license last year were committed to face High Court.

Hsieh Chen Chiu Fiu, Teng Chien Liu and Michael Maiyungfu were charged with evading export duties and false declaration.

The trio from the Chung Sol company were charged with attempting to export Tubi logs that were prohibited under section 4 (1) (d) of the Forest Resources and Timber Utilisation Act.

[PIR editor’s note: The Tubi tree is a rare hardwood found in the Solomon Islands.]

The alleged offence was committed on 30 December 2009.

Public Prosecutor Desmond Nimepo on Monday asked the Magistrate’s Court to refer the matter to the High Court for plea.

This was because the penalty for the offences the Asians alleged committed is above the penalty the Magistrate’s Court can impose.

Meanwhile the court was told that only two of the accused passports were surrendered to Immigration.

Principal Magistrate Mekeo Gauli ordered the third accused to surrender his passport yesterday.

This was despite their lawyer Ben Etomea telling the court that his client used a three tonne truck as his surety.

Mr. Gauli told Mr. Etomea that his client has to surrender his passport. He gave the example of a Malaysian man charged with causing death by reckless driving, but fled the country because his passport was not surrendered.

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