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Singapore has been accused of launching a clandestine "Sand War" against its neighbours by paying smugglers to steal entire beaches under the cover of night.

Singapore accused of launching ‘Sand Wars’

From The Telegraph

The island city-state's size has increased by over 20 per cent since the 1960s and demand for sand for lucrative land reclamation and development projects is higher than ever.

However, recent bans on exporting sand introduced in Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam have cut off supplies and opened up a thriving smuggling trade.

Thieves have begun making night-time raids on the picturesque sandy beaches of Indonesia and Malaysia, carving out millions of tons of coastline and leading to fears of an imminent environmental catastrophe on a swath of tropical islands.

Singapore's land developers are now pitted against environmental groups, who claim several of the 83 border islands off the north coast of Indonesia could disappear into the sea in the next decade unless the smugglers are stopped.

"It is a war for natural resources that is being fought secretly," said Nur Hidayati, Greenpeace Indonesia spokesman. "The situation has reached critical levels and the tropical islands of Nipah, the Karimun islands and many small islands off the coast of Riau are shrinking dramatically and on the brink of disappearing into the sea.

"The smugglers have no problem getting it into Singapore and these boats are rarely intercepted by customs boats or the navy. The supply is constant."

Read the full report here

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