From: Associated Press
Published January 17, 2005 12:00 AM

Malaysian Company that Imported Toxic Waste from Taiwan to Be Charged in Court, Report Says

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysian authorities will take legal action against a local company that imported thousands of tons of toxic waste from Taiwan using a fake permit, a news report said Monday.


The Department of Environment plans to charge Syn-Enviro Sdn. Bhd. with illegally importing 12,000 metric tons (13,200 short tons) of waste, which was being stored in 223 barrels at the southern Johor port and in 996 barrels at a brick factory owned by the company, the New Straits Times newspaper said.


It quoted Deputy Minister for Natural Resources S. Sothinathan as saying that the government would wait for the courts to decide on what to do with the toxic waste.


The minister and company representatives were not immediately available for comment.


The industrial waste, which contained byproducts in the manufacture of circuit boards, included high density minerals such as copper, lead, nickel, cadmium and chromium.


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The case was reported in a leading Taiwanese newspaper last year. In June, the government there confirmed that Taiwanese company Hong You Technology Company used a fake Malaysian import permit to get approval to ship the waste.


Bringing toxic waste into Malaysia is strictly regulated and permission is only granted if the importer can show it will reprocess the waste. Offenders face fines up to 500,000 ringgit (US$131,600, about euro100,000) and prison terms up to five years.


The waste was allegedly going to be processed by Syn-Enviro but it was unclear whether this had been done.


In September last year, a team of Taiwanese investigators held talks with Malaysian officials about bringing the waste back to Taiwan. Hong You could be asked to take the materials back if a safe way to dispose of them in Malaysia is not found.


The environmental group Greenpeace said the case is more evidence that rich countries are using developing countries in Southeast Asia as a "dumping ground" for their toxic waste.


It said in recent years global waste traders have sent used lead acid batteries, old tires, medical and electronic waste to the Philippines, Thailand and Cambodia.


Source: Associated Press


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