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Jakarta Post

Two Singaporeans named suspects in toxic waste import case

  • Dian Septiari
    Dian Septiari

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, October 4, 2019   /   07:30 pm
Two Singaporeans named suspects in toxic waste import case Batam Customs Office officers oversee the transfer of one of seven containers containing toxic and hazardous (B3) waste to the Capricorn 97.210 Barge, on July 29, at the Batu Ampar Container Port, Batam, Riau Islands. - JP/Fadli/bud/19 (JP/Fadli)

The Environment and Forestry Ministry has named two Singaporeans suspects for allegedly importing into Indonesia 87 containers of waste in the form of scrap plastic contaminated with toxic waste.

The Singaporeans, identified only as LSW and KWL, respectively an employee and director of one of the companies previously investigated for the alleged import of illegal waste, were named suspects on Thursday.

The 87 waste containers were imported from Hong Kong, Spain, Canada, Australia and Japan and entered Indonesia through Tanjung Priok Port on June 13. A total of 24 containers are now in the bonded zone of PT Advance Recycle Technology in Cikupa, Tangerang, while the remaining 63 containers are still at Tanjung Priok Port.

According to investigators, the contaminated plastic scrap was in the form of printed circuit boards, used remote controls, used batteries and used cables.

Law enforcement director general Rasio Ridho Sani of the Environment and Forestry Ministry said his office would continue to crack down on importers of contaminated or toxic and hazardous (B3) waste without permission.

"We must not turn our country into a landfill for non-toxic [and] toxic waste from other countries, because it affects public health and the environment. Perpetrators must be punished severely so that it will create a deterrent effect and it will not happen again. This is the first time we have named Singaporeans as suspects in an illegal waste import case,” Rasio said as quoted in a statement on Thursday.

He said importing illegal waste was a very serious crime punishable by imprisonment and fines, and that the case was the most severe when compared to other environmental criminal cases. "The sentence carries up to 15 years in prison and a fine of Rp 15 billion [US$1 million]. […] We expect it to cause a deterrent effect for other perpetrators," he said.

The ministry’s director for criminal law enforcement, Yazid Nurhuda, added that the investigation began with a request from the Tangerang Customs and Excise office to jointly examine containers of waste that had been left sitting in the bonded zone in Cikupa.

"The request was in accordance with Trade Ministerial Regulation No. 31/2016 concerning provisions on the import of non-toxic waste, which stipulates that import approval can be issued after obtaining a recommendation from the Environment Ministry and the Industry Ministry, but up until Aug. 22, PT ART had never filed a recommendation request,” he explained.

The two Singaporeans will be charged under Article 105 and/or Article 106 of Law No. 32/2009 on environmental protection and management, which stipulates that anyone who brings waste into Indonesian territory can be sentenced to a maximum of 12 years in prison and a maximum fine of Rp 12 billion, while anyone who brings in toxic waste can be sentenced up to a maximum of 15 years in prison with a maximum fine of Rp 15 billion.

Rasio said that investigators from the ministry were also looking into other criminal allegations committed by LSW in relation to the management of toxic waste without a permit in Cikupa, Tangerang.

LSW allegedly brought in 580 tons of toxic waste packaged in jumbo bags without a permit. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to a maximum of three years in prison and a maximum fine of Rp 3 billion.