A surge in hot spots across Sumatra island has brought visibility in Pekanbaru, Riau, down to 300 meters. (Antara Photo/Rony Muharrman)

107 Charged for Lighting Dozens of Forest Fires Across Indonesia


SEPTEMBER 14, 2015

Jakarta. Police in various parts of Indonesia have charged at least 107 individuals believed to be responsible for dozens of forest fire cases that continue to blanket much of Sumatra and Kalimantan as well as Singapore and parts of Malaysia in smoky haze.

"To this day there have been 107 people [who have been named suspects]," National Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Suharsono said on Monday. "They are involved in 68 acts of slash-and-burn practices, which are being investigated."

The officer said that Central Kalimantan became the province with the highest number of forest fire cases investigated by police, with 28 cases. Next on the list is South Sumatra with 16 cases, followed by Riau (13), West Kalimantan (six) and Jambi (five).

Of the cases investigated, Suharsono continued, 21 will move to trial soon.

Police in Riau have also charged an oil palm company with similar practices, in the first criminal case brought against a corporation this year in connection with raging forest fires.

The company has been identified as Langgam Inti Hibrida, according to Adj. Sr. Comr. Guntur Aryo Tedjo, a spokesman for the provincial police.

“We started the investigation into LIH a month ago,” Guntur told CNNIndonesia.

Established in 1998, LIH is based in Riau’s Pelalawan district and is 99.8 percent owned by publicly listed Provident Agro.

The company was also cited earlier this year by district environmental officials for improper waste management.