Insurance agent arrested in probe into torching of logging equipment

KUCHING: A 46-year-old insurance agent from Serian was arrested last Sunday in connection with the torching of logging machinery at a timber camp in Tebedu, Serian.

He has been placed on remand for four days pending investigation.

The suspect from Kampung Tepoi, Serian was arrested in his house in Siburan on Sunday morning.

He appeared before Court Registrar Abdul Razak Senawi who ordered him to be produced in court on May 19 upon expiry of his remand order.

The suspect is the sixth person to be arrested for involvement in torching a motor grader unit, six excavators, two bulldozers, two lorries and six security huts.

Estimated loss is more than RM5 million.

The other five suspects were earlier arrested in Kampung Temong last Friday and placed in police custody at Kuching Central Police Station.

Their remand order expires tomorrow (May 18) and they will be brought to court for mention of their case.

Remanded under Section 117 of the Criminal Procedure Code, they are represented by counsels See Chee How and Desmond Kho.

The case is being investigated under Section 438 of the Penal Code for committing mischief by fire or explosive substance.

The section provides for a maximum 20 years’ imprisonment and liable to a fine upon conviction.

According to the facts of the case, about 500 villagers from 10 villages launched a protest against the logging activity.

They claimed encroachment of the loggers into their land, and that the logging activity had damaged their crops including their padi fields.

Several days earlier the protesters damaged a wooden bridge to stop logging trucks from entering their land.

Yesterday, about 20 villagers and an observer of the land dispute came to support the latest suspect.

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