Police on Phu Quoc Island off southern Vietnam have captured seven suspects for destroying more than 3.5 hectares of forest at a national park.
The seven suspects, aged 33 to 58, were arrested on deforestation charges, the police unit in Phu Quoc Island City, confirmed on Sunday.
They were accused of being involved in four separate deforestation cases in Duong To Commune, Cua Duong Commune, Cua Can Commune, and Duong Dong Ward, which resulted in the loss of more than 3.5 hectares of forest at Phu Quoc National Park.
Six of the suspects said they were hired to chop down the trees for up to VND1 million (US$43) a day, according to police officers.
Due to the surge in land prices on Phu Quoc, many people have been destroying local forests to occupy land, said Le Minh Chanh, deputy head of the local police unit.
They have targeted special-use and protection forests, Chanh continued, adding that the deforestation usually takes place late at night so that the suspects could easily escape to the forest whenever they spot rangers.
Phu Quoc police will carry out a further investigation into similar cases in the near future so those responsible will be punished in accordance with the law, he stressed.