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Five arrested in forest ranger murder case in Vietnam’s Central Highlands

Monday, August 15, 2016, 15:40 GMT+7

Police in Lam Dong Province, in the Central Highlands, have arrested five suspects for the alleged murder of Truong Ai Thin and aggravated assault on two other local forest protection officers last week.

The five include MBon Ha Hoang, 40, Lieng Hot Ha Long, 17, Lieng Hot Ha Jek, 21, Lo Mu Ha Chan, 33, and K’ Long Ha Hen, 22, all residents of Hang Hot Village, Me Linh Commune, officers confirmed on Sunday.

According to Major General Bui Van Son, director of the provincial Department of Police, the offenders have also been charged with obstruction and public disorder.

About 200 officers were tasked with the arrest on Saturday, as the villagers were rounded up and not allowed to leave the village.

Police were assaulted with rocks and wooden sticks and were forced to fire warning shots in order to clear a crowd that had gathered to hinder their operation.

The five suspects were involved in a fatal confrontation between local officers and the residents of the village on August 8, Maj. Gen. Son stated.

According to the case file, about 16 people, mainly ethnic minority residents from Hang Hot Village, were caught destroying a local forest to create more space for agriculture.

A group of 16 police and forest protection officers were dispatched to stop the illegal activity and make a report of the case.

Some of the suspects called for back-up, resulting in about 100 people from the village rushing to the scene and surrounding the law enforcers.

They then began attacking the officers, and prevented them from leaving, resulting in Truong Ai Tinh, an official from the local Forest Management Board, being killed.

Two other forest protection officers, Tan Khoa and Trieu Vu Hiep, suffered several injuries, including serious head wounds.

Seven vehicles of the officers were also heavily damaged.

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