Viet Nam News
BÌNH ĐỊNH – The investigative police of Bình Định Province has detained two suspects over a recent destruction of more than 60ha of forest in An Lão District.
The suspects are Phan Dễ, 57, and Nguyễn Văn Ri, 42, both from Hoài Nhơn District, Colonel Lâm Cự Hiếu, chief of the economic police unit, told the Lao Động (Labour) newspaper on Thursday.
According to the initial investigation, these two people hired some people from Ba Tơ District in central Quảng Ngãi Province, as well as locals, to cut down portions of the forest in An Hưng Commune.
The forest being chopped down include two hectares of protected forest. The trees there were replaced with new plantings of acacia, a tree commonly grown on industrial plantations.
Last month, local authorities discovered some 43.7ha of natural forest in An Lão District’s An Hưng Commune had been destroyed.
However, according to the provincial Agriculture and Rural Development Department, the destroyed forest area is 60.9ha.
Phạm Văn Nam, chairman of the committee, alleged that the forest was being cleared for monetary gain.
After the largest ever natural deforestation in the province, inter-agencies have co-ordinated in the investigation and found large volumes of timber and firewood at a wood chips processing factory in Tường Sơn Village of Hoài Sơn Commune.
The timber consists of many different types of trees, tree logs and branches. Most of the trees had a diametre of 10-15cm.
A preliminary assessment suggests that most of the wood was derived from the natural forest that had been destroyed in An Hưng Commune.
Earlier, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc asked Bình Định authorities to investigate and report the case by October 30.
Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Hồ Quốc Dũng has suspended the deputy head and some forest rangers of An Lão Forest Protection Unit over the incident.
He also asked the chairman of the local People’s Committee and officials of related agencies to review their responsibility in the case. – VNS