Prosecutors urge right to wiretap to stop tree theft

The China Post news staff

The China Post news staff–Yilan prosecutors yesterday urged the government to grant authorities the right to wiretap in the Forestry Act, otherwise it is extremely difficult to track and scare off timber thieves.

In Yilan’s Datong Country (大同鄉), groups of timber thieves have invaded the local forest of centuries-old trees, sawing off burls and tree parts if not sawing down the whole tree.

The “shameful massacre” is difficult to control because although the thieves violated the Forestry Act, if no proof of obvious organized crime or of thieves owning weapons could be discovered, they will not face heavy charges — and prosecutors argued that being jailed for periods of more than six months but less than five years is too gentle for crimes of killing old trees. Too frequently the timber thieves caught in action are just tree-sawers rather than organizers of the crime, and to disintegrate the crime organizers and monitor those who benefit from stolen timber, it is necessary that wiretapping on perpetrators be legalized in the Forestry Act, Yilan prosecutors urged.