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Seven jailed for over 32 years in total for poisoning pine trees in Vietnam

Tuesday, June 30, 2020, 16:38 GMT+7
Seven jailed for over 32 years in total for poisoning pine trees in Vietnam
Bach Dinh Ke stands trial for the poisoning of pine trees in Lam Dong Province, Vietnam at the provincial People's Court, June 29, 2020. Photo: M.V. / Tuoi Tre

Seven men have been sentenced to a combined 32 years and three months in prison for their involvement in the poisoning of ten hectares of pine tree forest in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong last year.

Their trial took place at the provincial People’s Court on Monday.

The defendants were indicted for property destruction and lack of responsibility that cause damage to the property of the state, agencies, organizations, and enterprises.

Authorities discovered that many pine trees had been poisoned in two forests in Tan Thanh Commune, Lam Ha District, Lam Dong in April 2019, according to the indictment.

The affected area of forest was determined to be ten hectares. About 638 cubic meters of timber was damaged, costing approximately VND750 million (US$32,200).

An investigation later revealed that Bach Dinh Ke, 38, had hired Duong Van Hong, Ngo Van Diem, and Phan Van Truong to poison seven hectares of pine tree forest in Tan Thanh Commune.

Nguyen Quoc Huy, 31, then paid Hong, Diem, Truong, and another man named Nguyen Van Loi to do the same thing to 2.9 hectares of forest nearby.

Duong Van Hong shows police officers how he had poisoned the pine trees in Lam Dong Province, Vietnam. Photo: M.V. / Tuoi Tre

Duong Van Hong shows police officers how he poisoned pine trees in Lam Dong Province, Vietnam. Photo: M.V. / Tuoi Tre

At the police station, Ke and Huy claimed they had had the tree poisoned to occupy the land plots with a plan to resell them to others.

Ke added he had supplied Diem, Hong, and Truong with portable electric drills and herbicide, and agreed to pay them VND500,000-700,000 (U$21-30) per day for the job.

At the trial, Ke was sentenced to six years in prison.

Diem, who had a record of assault and consumption of illegal property, was jailed for seven years.

Hong and Loi were each slapped with a five-year jail term, while Huy and Truong were put behind bars for four years.

All of the six defendants were convicted of “destruction of property.”

Mai Ngoc Hien, 41, an official in charge of protecting the pine tree forests, was sentenced to 15 months in prison for lack of responsibility that led to damage to state, agencies, organizations, and enterprises’ property.

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