Sukanto Tanoto’s companies causing forest fires are not new. Back in 1997, Sumatra has the largest forest fire in the last two centuries of recorded history. In the middle of 1997 forest fires burning in Indonesia began to affect neighboring countries, spreading thick clouds of smoke and haze to Malaysia and Singapore.
Garuda Indonesia Flight 152 (GA152, GIA152) was a scheduled domestic Indonesian passenger flight from Jakarta to Medan Sumatra operated by state owned flag carrier Garuda Indonesia. On September 26, 1997, the Airbus A300 flying this route, registered PK-GAI, crashed into woodlands 18 miles from Medan in low visibility. All 235 passengers and crew were killed in the disaster. The crash site was at an altitude of 3,000 feet (915 m) above sea level, near the village of Pancur Batu, Desa Buah Nabar.
Among the victim is Polar Yanto tanoto, Sukanto’s brother, and then the director of Inti Indoyaron. So much so the fires caused by Sukanto’s companies taken his own brother’s life. But of course Sukanto is not really affected by his brother’s death, he even gained profit from it. All of his brother’s shares from Indorayon and APRIL were liquidated and transferred under his name. Polar Tanoto’s family didn’t get much after the death. The Polar family in Singapore sometimes still takes it to the press about his beloved brother’s kindness.