The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and its Indonesian partner Kaoem Telapak welcomed the judgement as a significant blow against illegal logging in the region. Ming Ho, the director and owner of Alco Timber Irian and Sorong Timber Iriana, was originally found guilty and sentenced in October 2019.

His jail term and fine were confirmed at the end of an appeal heard at the Jayapura High Court. The activities of Ming Ho were first exposed by EIA during investigations into the illegal logging and trafficking of precious merbau wood from Indonesia in 2012-13.

Thomas Chung, EIA forests campaigner, said: “EIA and Kaoem Telapak have been investigating and exposing merbau theft and illegal trade for the past two decades. This work led directly to the criminal case against Indonesian policeman Labora Sitorus back in 2012-13, in which Ming Ho had previously been named as a major player.”

Abu Meridian, of Kaoem Telapak, added: “We welcome the ruling against a major player in the criminal exploitation and destruction of the Indonesian Forest and commend the actions taken by the Indonesian authorities.”

The High Court  upheld the original district court ruling to the full extent, determining that the defendant had violated Articles 18 and 87 of the forest protection law, in conjunction with Article 65 of the criminal code.