Logging showdown in PNG
Papua New Guinean landowners are preparing for a legal battle against Malaysian logging company Rimbunan Hijau, which they say is illegally cutting down their trees and using force and bribery to stifle their concerns. The accusations come as the Australian government reiterates its commitment to a 2007 election promise that the importation of illegally harvested timber would be considered a criminal offence. Ramu and Sogeram landowner groups in Madang Province, on PNG’s north-western coast, are out to stop Rimbunan Hijau, PNG’s largest logger. A PNG court banned logging in the Ramu area last November but landowners fear this is only a reprieve and that Rimbunan Hijau will challenge the court.