Archipelago

Batam, alleged transshipment
point for ivory from Africa

A raid conducted by the Kenyan authorities that led to the confiscation of 638 pieces of elephant ivory worth Rp 12 billion (US$1.24 million) at the Mombasa port in Kenya in the middle of January has triggered a suspicion that Batam is an alleged transshipment point for ivory from Africa.

Following up on the finding in Kenya, the Trade Ministry filed a report on the alleged involvement of three importers in Batam on the trade of ivory from Africa to the Riau Islands police office on March 5.

The Batam City trade and industry department found that two out of the three importers allegedly involved in the ivory trade were fictitious, however.

Speaking to The Jakarta Post on Saturday, Batam City’s head of trade and industry, Amsakar Ahmad, said his institution received a letter dated March 5 from the Trade Ministry’s foreign trade directorate general, which reported the alleged involvement of three importers in Batam on the trade of ivory from Africa to the police. They included PT Kundur Prima Karya (KPK), PT Alam Daya Cammo (ADC) and PT Sumber All Co (SAC)

"One importer is truly in Batam and registered at Batam City’s trade and industry department; however, the two others are fictitious. Our officials tried to investigate their offices but they could not find them," said Amsakar.

He said his institution summoned PT KPK director Linda Lau and conducted an administrative examination concerning the company’s business activities. PT KPK was allegedly involved in the ivory trade that Kenyan authorities foiled in Mombasa in January. Meanwhile, PT ADC and PT SAC were allegedly involved in the previous ivory trade foiled in Hong Kong, China.

“We just checked its business license as well as the company registration (TDP) and trade licenses (SIUP). We then asked her to explain the connection with the ivory trade in Mombasa. Once the police confirm its involvement in the ivory trade, we will review the licenses,” said Amsakar.

He said the Trade Ministry reported the case to the Riau Islands police as the ministry could not conduct an investigation into the alleged involvement of the company in the ivory trade.

According to Amsakar, many goods prohibited for trading such as endangered animals are currently traded using online services in which Batam is an alleged transshipment point for the commodities that came from abroad.

“Batam is just a transshipment point for the illegal trading of the commodities. They will not be marketed in this country, actually,” said Amsakar.

Riau Islands police chief Brig.Gen.Yotje Mende told the Post on Sunday that he had yet to receive the letter from the Trade Ministry that reported the alleged involvement of the three companies in the trade of ivory from Africa.

“I have neither received the letter nor heard about the issue [on alleged involvement of the three companies],” said Yotje.

The international trade of elephant ivory has been prohibited since 1989 after a sharp decline in the elephant population in Africa. The ivory trade is prohibited, based on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The ivory confiscated at Mombasa port, Kenya, came from Tanzania.

Contacted separately, PT KPK director Linda Lau refused to comment on the case. (ebf)

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