Lee Hwok Aun reviews an explosive new book, Money Logging: On the Trail of the Asian Timber Mafia, by Lukas Straumann (Bergli Press, 2014).
As mafia stories go, this one has it all: fraud, ill-gotten riches, intrigue, hidden loot, violence, privileged family, ruined lives of others ? and a godfather. But this plot bears a unique twist, for the godfather is the head of government, and the bounty is more than 100,000 square kilometres of virgin forest.
The result is devastating: 90 per cent of that forest put to the chainsaw, to sell timber worth US$50bn.Continue reading →