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Malaysian authorities seize illegal shipment of Indonesian ramin logs

Malaysian authorities, acting on a tip-off from a London-based environmental group, have seized an illegal shipment of Indonesian ramin logs, which are banned from export to protect the habitat of orang-utans.

The logs, which can fetch up to US$1,000 (HK$7,780) per cubic metre in Western markets, were seized in Malacca state last week by forestry authorities.

Authorities have intensified checks on all timber imports entering Malaysia since the seizure to prevent more ramin wood being smuggled into the country.

“Now we are checking to see if the seized logs had export permits. If they do not, Malaysia would have broken the Cites [UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species] agreement,” Forestry Department head Zul Mukhshar Mohamed Shaari told the New Straits Times.

Ramin joined the list of species under Cites last month. Indonesia banned its export in April.

The London-based Environmental Investigation Agency alerted the Malaysians, claiming most ramin shipments to the country were illegal.

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