Timber tycoon's knighting - UK officials distance themselves
BMF calls upon the Queen (picture) to deprive Malaysian timber tycoon Tiong Hiew King of his knighthood
Two weeks after the knighting of Tiong Hiew King, the controversial timber tycoon, by Queen Elizabeth II, no British authority is prepared to take responsibility for the step, which appears to be increasingly embarrassing for the Royals and the British government. According to an article published today by The Guardian website, “both the UK government and Buckingham palace distanced themselves from the appointment.”
The Guardian quotes a Foreign Office spokesman as having said that “the palace would have decided on the award”. However, Buckingham palace puts the blame for the clearing of Tiong’s name on the Foreign Office. “The prime minister of Papua New Guinea, supported by the governor general, would have made the recommendation to the queen. It would then have been cleared by the Foreign Office and the Malaysian government”, said a spokesman for the palace. Clarence House, which represents Prince Charles, declined to comment. Prince Charles has recently launched “The Prince’s Rainforest Project” which aims to battle against tropical deforestation.
Times Online today quotes a Papua New Guinea 2004 government report which unveiled unethical practices by the Tiong-owned Rimbunan Hijau logging group. According to the report, the company’s treatment of its employees reflected “exploitation and slavery and should be condemned at all levels.” The Times also reported on claims by a former Papua New Guinea police officer that he had been paid to intimidate local people who attempted to prevent their rainforests from being logged by Tiong’s company.
Meanwhile, Greenpeace, Survival International and a number of other environmental and human rights organizations from around the world have endorsed the Bruno Manser Fund’s call on the Queen to strip Tiong of his knighthood over his illegal logging record.
- Ends -
Link to the 01 July 2009 Times Online article:
Link to the 01 July 2009 Guardian article:
(01 July 2009)