Viet Nam News
ĐẮK NÔNG — Authorities in the Central Highland province of Đắk Nông on Monday confirmed they had started criminal proceedings against the head of a forest ranger team for his involvement in the illegal logging and trafficking of hundreds of cu.m of timber.
Lê Quang Thái, 49, has been charged with abuse of power after turning a blind eye to timber being transported by Long Vũ Company in Cư Jút District. An investigation into the company started in April this year, resulting the arrest of owner Phan Hữu Phượng, known as “Moustache Phượng”, a resident of EaT’ling Town, in May.
Phượng alledgedly bribed Thái to ignore the illegal timber trafficking.
Thái admitted to investigators that he received VNĐ120 million (US$5,100) from an employee of Thảo Trúc Company.
On April 27, police and border guard officers in Đắk Nông found 40.2 cu.m. of timber being carried away by two trucks from Yok Đôn National Park on the border of Đắk Nông and Đắk Lắk.
The two truck drivers - Trần Lưu Lân and Hồ Trọng Dũng - failed to present legitimate documents specifying the origin of the timber. They told police that the timber was being taken to a workshop belonging to Long Vũ Company in Cư Jút District.
Investigators searched five locations where the illicit ring stored their timber and confiscated nearly 210cu.m of wood as well as multiple trucks, cars, tractors and chainsaws.
On May 3, Đắk Nông Police initiated legal proceedings against five members involved in the operation, including Phượng.
The suspects were charged with violating regulations on the exploitation, protection and management of forest products under Article 232 of the Penal Code.
Last month, the provincial People’s Procuracy started legal proceedings against Bùi Văn Khang, head of the Forest Protection Division in Cư M’gar District as he was head of Buôn Đôn District’s Forest Protection Division from 2008 to 2017.
Vice head of Buôn Đôn District’s Forest Protection Division, Hà Thăng Long, is also being investigated for abuse of power. — VNS