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SINGAPORE COURT APPROVES RELEASE OF ILLEGAL TIMBER SHIPMENT

11/23/2015

A court in Singapore approved the release of a shipment of rosewood from Madagascar, which had been seized by Singapore over a year ago. The timber, worth more than $50 million, was recently shipped without permits and in the face of a national ban on such exports. Singapore District Judge Jasvender Kaur dismissed the case against the company Kong Hoo for importing 30,000 rosewood logs from Madagascar in March 2014. The judge argued that the rosewood was in transit to Hong Kong, and there is no evidence that the logs were imported into Singapore. Due to this, the judge stated that no permit was required. Environmentalists are saying that the court's decision sets a dangerous precedent against efforts to end illegal timber trafficking. The Environmental Investigative Agency criticized the decision for disregarding the Singaporean ban on exporting Malagasy rosewood. Both Madagascar and Singapore are signatories of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which restricts trade in Malagasy rosewood. Malagasy rosewood is in high demand largely for luxury furniture popular in China, but logging Malagasy rosewood takes a large toll on the environment and wildlife in Madagascar. For the full story, see http://news.mongabay.com/2015/11/singapore-court-illicit-timber-trafficking-through-our-ports-not-our-problem/