Officers in the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong haveinitiated legal proceedings against five members of a large-scale illegal logging operation, who were arrested and detained last week.
Senior Lieutenant Colonel Pham Thanh Binh, chief of staff of the provincial Department of Police, confirmed on Thursday that the agency had initiated legal proceedings against the five apprehended suspects, including 50-year-old Phan Huu Phuong, a.k.a “Mustache” Phuong, the rings top-dog.
The other four accomplices included Nguyen Hoang Trang, 36, Ho Trong Dung, 53, Tran Luu Lan, 48, and Duong Quoc Bao, 28.
According to Sen. Lt. Col. Binh, the suspects were charged with violating regulations on the exploitation, protection, and management of forest products under Article 232 of the Penal Code.
The investigation was approved by the provincial People’s Procuracy, the police official added.
According to the case file, police and border guard officers in Dak Nong caught Lan and Dung red-handed as they were transporting 40.2 cubic meters of wood on two trucks at around 3:40 am on April 27.
|Illegally harvested timber stored by the illegal logging ring. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
The two failed to present legitimate documents specifying the origin of the timber and later admitted they had taken the wood from the Yok Don National Park on the border of Dak Nong and Dak Lak Provinces.
The wood was being taken to a workshop operated by Long Vu Company in Cu Jut District, Dak Nong, which specializes in the production of wooden products. “Mustache” Phuong” is the owner of the business.
Investigators searched five locations where the illicit ring stored their timber, confiscating a total of nearly 210 cubic meters of wood, multiple trucks, cars, tractors, and chainsaws.
An investigation is ongoing.