Three tractor trailer drivers have been slapped with civil fines for overloading, after they were caught conveying three colossal trees from southern to northern Vietnam last week, with the consignee falsely believed to be a high-ranking traffic police officer.
The drivers’ employer has asserted that the three giant banyan trees were transported at a pagoda’s behest, dispelling rumors on social media that the plants were moved as per a one-star general’s requirement.
Three tractor trailers, belonging to Hai Son Co., were pulled over by police traffic police in the north-central province of Thua Thien-Hue on Friday, when each of them was carrying a large banyan on the arterial National Route 1.
The drivers were fined nearly VND82 million (US$3,600) for transporting oversized objects which exceeded the allowed load weight, and failing to present a permit for the transportation, police said on Sunday.
They also had their driving licenses confiscated for one to three months, according to officers.
|One of the three banyans lies in Thua Thien-Hue Province, north-central Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
Each of the banyans, which were subsequently unloaded from the trucks and positioned on a local roadside in Thua Thien-Hue, measures about 15 meters in length and over six meters in circumference at its widest.
Multiple long branches extend from the top part of the trees, which have the roots covered in bags with a circumference of approximately 15 meters apiece.
Nguyen Hai Son, director of Hai Son Co., said a pagoda had asked his company to move the banyans, from Dak Lak Province, in Vietnam’s Central Highlands, to Hanoi.
Deemed sacred, banyans usually form part of the scene at Vietnamese temples and pagodas.
|The banyans lies in Thua Thien-Hue Province, north-central Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
He rejected the so-called canard previously spreading on social medial that the business transported the trees for major general Nguyen Huu Danh, former deputy head of the General Department of Traffic Police.
Rumor had it that the drivers managed to pass a number of police checkpoints with impunity after name-dropping Danh.
The major general has addressed local media to dismiss the hearsay, saying somebody must have attempted to misuse his name and title.
|Two of the three banyans lie in Thua Thien-Hue Province, north-central Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
|A forest ranger looks at a leaf from one of the three banyans in Thua Thien-Hue Province, north-central Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre|