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Man captured for poisoning 684 pine trees in central Vietnam

Friday, June 19, 2015, 14:47 GMT+7
Man captured for poisoning 684 pine trees in central Vietnam
A ranger is seen watching the base of one of nearly 200 pine trees that were illegally lopped in Loc Tan Commune, Bao Lam District, the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong on May 29-30, 2015.

Police have arrested a man for his involvement in the poisoning of 684 pine trees in a commune of the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong in May this year. Officers in the province’s Bao Loc City on Thursday captured Pham Van Hai, a 46-year-old man, on charges of “destroying forests” pursuant to Article 189 of the Penal Code. Hai initially admitted that he and two others carried out the mass poisoning in late May. His arrest was made following an investigation that had been initiated by police officers on June 10, when the Bao Loc City Forestry Protection Office asked for their help in tracking down the culprits of the mass destruction of a pinewood that was planted in 1984 in Dam Bri Commune. According to preliminary verification, a total of 684 pine trees grown on an area of 2.6 hectares were poisoned. The poisoners injected chemicals into the trunks via holes or slashes that could have been made with axes, police said, adding that all the poisoned trees have withered. Police said they are searching for Hai’s accomplices. In a related development, police in the same province's Bao Lam District are also hunting for the perpetrators who illegally cut down nearly 200 pine trees in a forest in Loc Tan Commune about 20 days ago. Nguyen Van Nam, head of the Dam Bri Protected Forest Management Board, which manages the forest in the commune, said that a total of 194 pine trees, equivalent to 79m³ of wood, were cut down from the night of May 29 to the morning of May 30. All of the trees were also planted in 1984, meaning they were 31 years old, Nam said, adding that the diameters of the bases of these trees measured 30-40 cm. 

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