|Ha Long City Police found 13 trucks illegally carrying 700 tonnes of coal in northern Quang Ninh Province. The source of the smuggled coal remaines unknown. – VNA/VNS Photo Van Duc
QUANG NINH (VNS) — The source of around 700 tonnes of smuggled coal dust seized in Ha Long City on Tuesday was yet to be identified, said a city official at a press conference on Wednesday.
An official team from the Ha Long People's Committee detected nine trucks transporting coal to a vacant plot of land belonging to the Ha Khanh D Residential Project in Ha Khanh Ward in the early morning.
Among the trucks, some were reported to be carrying fake logos of the Vietnam National Coal - Mineral Industries Group (VINACOMIN).
Another three excavators and two piles of coal were also found at the site.
Thirteen people, including 11 drivers, were detained after failing to provide official documents proving the legal origin of the coal.
The detained admitted exploiting the coal from mining field 917 owned by the Hon Gai Coal Co., Ltd., a company under VINACOMIN, and from neighbouring areas.
"We are only working with the drivers' testimonies at the moment. Authorities are still in the middle of the investigation, and the exact location of where the coal was exploited is yet to be clarified," said Ha Long People's Committee Chairman Pham Hong Ha.
Also present at the press conference, Hon Gai Coal Company Director Bui Khac That denied any coal had been illegally transferred from the company's mine.
He argued that the alleged coal exploitation in this case was not located inside the 917 mining field, but on private land owned by local residents.
However, a vice director and three security guards of the company who were on duty the same day the coal was seized had been suspended, according to the company.
Due to the scale of the case, Quang Ninh People's Committee Chairman Nguyen Van Doc had asked the provincial Police Department director to head the investigation, said Mai Vu Tuan, head of Quang Ninh's Information and Communications Department.
"There will be no zones barred from the investigation," he added. — VNS