|Representatives of local authorised agencies at the scene of the deforestation in An Hưng Commune. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyên Linh|
HÀ NỘI — Deputy Prime Minister Trịnh Đình Dũng has ordered the the central province of Bình Định’s Police Department to quickly complete its investigation into 60ha of a local forest being illegally chopped down in An Lão District’s An Hưng Commune in late August.
Dũng required the police to urgently bring the case to court and make public all information after completing the investigation.
The police were also told to clarify whether local authorised agencies or the forest ranger force were involved, Dũng said.
Any individual or organisation found to be assisting the poachers must be strictly deal with following regulations, he added.
Earlier, residents uncovered the forest destruction and informed the local forest ranger force late August.
On September 9, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc ordered an investigation into the serious deforestation and demanded a report before October 30.
On September 15, local police discovered a large quantity of wood at a woodchip factory operated by Thương Thảo Trading JSC, based in Quy Nhơn City. The wood was suspected to have originated from the destroyed forest. The company’s business activities range from construction and hotel management to wood manufacturing and forest plantation for economic purposes. The wood-chip factory is located in Tường Sơn Village, 10km from the site of the forest.
At that time, Bình Định authorities confirmed that no one had been licensed to use the forest “for commercial purposes”.
On September 21, the police detained two suspects in connection with the forest destruction -- Phan Dễ, 57, and Nguyễn Văn Ri, 42, both from Hoài Nhơn District.
According to initial investigation, the two hired some people from Ba Tơ District in the central province of Quảng Ngãi, as well as locals, to cut down portions of the forest in An Hưng Commune.
On October 9, the police remanded Lê Văn Thiệt, 55, of Hoài Nhơn District’s Hoài Sơn Commune, to four months for investigating the deforestation activities. Thiệt was the general director of Thương Thảo Joint Stock Company.
Following initial investigation, the police also suspected Thiệt to be the mastermind behind the illegal cutting down of 61ha of natural forest in An Lão District. — VNS