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PNG landowners to battle logging giant

Source:  Copyright 2010, AAP
Date:  February 12, 2010
Byline:  Ilya Gridneff
Original URL: Status ONLINE

Papua New Guinea landowners are preparing to launch a legal battle against controversial Malaysian logging giant Rimbunan Hijau (RH).

They claim the company is illegally cutting their trees and using brute 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 northwestern coast, are out to stop RH - PNG's largest logger.

In November last year a PNG court banned logging in the Ramu area after a review by the country's Forestry Authority.

But landowners fear this is a temporary reprieve and worry RH will use their influence and challenge the court.

The battle between the logging giant and landowners is an ongoing one with local Ramu group Asples Madang claiming Ramu youths ...

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