Taipei-The Nantou District Prosecutors Office charged 21 individuals on Friday for their involvement in an illegal logging operation.
Chief prosecutor Wu Yi-ying(???) said 13 Taiwanese nationals and eight migrant workers have been indicted for illegal logging, transporting the timber, and processing it into art works for sale.
Among those indicted is the man believed to be the mastermind of the operation, surnamed Chou (?), who recruited the members of the group and took part in illegal acts throughout Taiwan since the beginning of the year, Wu said.
Chou's group engaged in 22 cases of illegal logging and related commercial activity from January to June of this year.
A total of 13 Taiwanese nationals and six migrant workers were questioned on July 19 and 20 about the illegal logging operation, and 14 more migrant workers were questioned later that month.
Police then conducted a raid on the group's operations in October, seizing 315 items, including logs and works of art, that weighed a total of 5,189 kilograms and had a market value of NT$50 million (US$1.66 million), leading to Friday's indictments.
Wu said the successful operation to bring down the illegal logging group was a joint effort between police in Taichung and Hsinchu cities and Nantou, Yunlin and Changhua counties.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel