TO DETER BREACHES: Fines based on the size or weight of wood often do not reflect the market value of precious timber, the Forest Bureau said
Date: Aug 17, 2020
By: Yang Yuan-ting and Dennis Xie / Staff reporter, with staff writer
The Forestry Bureau yesterday said it would amend penalties for illegally logged timber, with a new method for calculating fines possibly leading to a 10-fold increase.
The announcement came after police in Hsinchu County on Thursday said they had arrested an illegal logging ring that had allegedly been felling Taiwanese red and yellow cypress trees in the local mountains for years, detaining 15 suspects and confiscating timber worth more than NT$1 million (US$33,850).
The Forestry Act (森林法) was amended in 2016, imposing prison sentences of up to 10 years and six months for illegal logging, and fines of five to ten times the value of the stolen timber, bureau Director-General Lin Hwa-ching (林華慶) said.
However, the amendment did not specify how the value of the stolen property should be determined, so courts would calculate based on the weight or size of the timber, Lin said.