Land Smugglers

Black-market smugglers are literally?stealing Indonesia’s small islands, including the legendary Krakatoa. “Sea reclamation projects in China, Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore are driving a black market in Indonesia’s abundant supplies of soil, sand and gravel,” reports The Times of London. Twenty-four?islands have allegedly disappeared since 2005 due to erosion driven by sand mining. The mining wreaks havoc with both the environment and the local economy: “In the Riau Islands the fishermen have lost 80 per cent of their income as a result of sand mining,” said Riza Damanik, of the People’s Coalition for Justice in Fisheries.[%comments]

Ian Kemmish

Whereas those who stole most of the island of Nauru did it with the full legal authority of the British Empire behind them.


I find it very hard to believe that it' could be so hard to find sand and gravel nearer those land reclamation projects that it becomes profitable to ferry it there from thousands of kilometers away.

Singapore yes, that's right next to the Riau islands. But Thailand and China?


FWIW Ian, the citizens of Nauru were the wealthiest in the world per capita in the mid-80's. They were seduced by money but they were complicit in their seduction.

Jeff D

Who the heck would want to live on an island (Krakatoa) that is almost certain to explode again as some point?


Not at all accurate. Krakatoa has not existed since 1883 when it had it's massive explosion. Anak Krakatoa - which means "child of Krakatoa" is an active volcano located nearby.

Our weekend shack has a view of Anak Krakatoa - it is still smoking and had an eruption in 2009. We went out to it by boat a month ago - no-one is mining there (and I am a mining engineer so I do know what mining looks like).

Wouldn't surprise me if Riau is being illegally mined for Singapore - Sing is a land decificit country who are actively building "land" - could barge it for less than US$20/tonne. China and Thailand - have a large supply of land, the expense of shipping would outweigh the advantage.

Fishing impacted by sand mining - no doubt partly - .....but I think all of the rubbish that is floating in the ocean in these parts may have a MASSIVE contribution to killing the fish as well (and those fisherman are no innocent bystanders - there are no garbage collectors in these parts).

As for the Naura being wealthy - great - it's not part of Indonesia and wasn't even mentioned. The people living on the islands around Indonesia are among the poorest people in the world and would not be the ones selling the soil from beneath their feet. Yes - solutions are required.