Viet Nam News
QUẢNG BÌNH — Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park in the central province of Quảng Bình said yesterday it was co-operating with related agencies to investigate an alleged attack on forest rangers by a group of loggers.
According to a report by the Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park Forest Ranger Unit, at around 3pm on Wednesday, Mobile Ranger Team No 2 and forces of the Hóa Sơn Ranger Station detected a suspicious 16-seater van travelling from Hóa Sơn Commune, Minh Hóa District to Hồ Chí Minh National Highway.
During a search, they found that the van, driven by Đinh Minh Tưởng, was transporting 20 boxes of wood, which was some 1.5cu.m.
Failing to prove the legality of the wood, Tưởng, a resident of Hóa Sơn Commune, and some people who had accompanied the van on motorbikes reportedly threatened to throw rocks on the rangers’ car. They then used a sword and an iron tube to attack the rangers, leaving Dương Quyết Thắng, deputy head of the Mobile Ranger Team, injured.
Another person drove the 16-seater van into the rangers’ car, following which the van plunged into a field on the side of the road.
The group of 15-20 people continued to attack the rangers and used motorbikes and another car in which they transferred the wood. They also managed to push the van back up to the road and escape.
The rangers could only seize four boxes of wood, which were brought to the Hóa Sơn Ranger Station.
Illegal logging is rampant across forest and mountainous areas in Việt Nam, with loggers becoming increasingly violent in recent times.
In August, an official was killed and two others were injured after being attacked by illegal loggers in the Central Highlands province of Lâm Đồng.
Early this month, a group of loggers, also in Lâm Đồng, was prosecuted for assaulting rangers with weapons in July.
According to estimates of Đắk Lắk Province’s Forest Ranger Unit, there were 14 cases in which illegal loggers fought against rangers and forest protection forces since the beginning of 2015 to July 2016 in the province alone. — VNS