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Ring leader in illegal logging trade wanted by Vietnamese police

Wednesday, July 13, 2016, 15:53 GMT+7

Two members of an illegal logging ring have been detained while their leader remains wanted by police in Lam Dong Province, located in Vietnam’s Central Highlands.

Nguyen Van Tuan, 40, and Nguyen Van Thanh, 49, were both arrested while Le Hong Ha, 48, is now wanted for violating forest protection regulations, officers said on Tuesday afternoon.

Ha, who left his hometown in Lam Dong, was the ring leader while Tuan and Thanh were charged with transportation and distribution of the timber.

Tran Tho, an essential link in the unlawful operation, has also turned himself in to the police, officers added.

Earlier on July 8, about 15 illegal loggers were caught red-handed smuggling timber into the river basin of the Dong Nai 5 Hydroelectric Plant located in Bao Lam District, Lam Dong.

The suspects claimed that they were working for Ha, adding that the timber was to be transported to Bu Dang District in the southern province of Binh Phuoc.

Following the lead, investigators coordinated with police and forest protection officers in Binh Phuoc to inspect several timber facilities in the province, confiscating 40 cubic meters of timber bought from Ha’s illegal operation.

In a related development, one forest protection official in Dak Lak Province, also situated in the Central Highlands, is suspected of owning three cubic meters of wood without legitimate documents.

Forest rangers in Krong Bong District, Dak Lak, in coordination with local police, carried out a raid on the wood shop of Pham Van Son, and discovered the undocumented timber.

Son stated in his report that he had been keeping the wood for Nguyen Thanh Dung, deputy head of the Krong Bong Forest Protection Office, since March.

Y Te Bkrong, head of the Forest Protection Office, affirmed on Tuesday that the case was being investigated.

“If Dung is proven to have possessed the timber against the law, he will be immediately sanctioned,” Bkrong said.       

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