Vietnam: Illegal logging in North & Central Provinces

Many locals, hired to protect the forests, have colluded with illegal loggers while park rangers have been involved in bloody battles over the protection of the forests. In mid-April, park rangers of Son Ha Forest in Quang Ngai Province spotted two people illegally carrying logs, Thanh Nien learned. Ranger Nguyen Quoc Bao chased the two but was attacked by another two accomplices of the violators. He suffered a broken arm and seriously injured hand.

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On April 21, Le Hoang Son, chief park ranger of Dong Giang District in Quang Nam Province had to ask for police protection after being harassed by an illegal logger who continuously sent messages threatening to kill him. Son said the suspect was Tran Duc Lam of Da Nang City, who had previously been fined for illegally transporting logs. Some illegal tree-cutters have even stormed the office of park rangers who have seized their logs and means of transport. In the latest case, illegal loggers congregated at the Forest Management office of Lang Son Province’s Huu Lung District and shouted at rangers and traffic police who had seized 46 logs from them two days earlier, Vietnam News Agency reported.


Nong Quang Dai, vice chief of Huu Lung Forest Management, said the district has been a “hot spot” for illegal logging activity for years. He said the loggers use chainsaws to cut down trees and carry them using bicycles, motorbikes, trucks and even three-wheeled vehicles intended for use by war invalids. Dai said the 6,700-hectare Huu Lien Forest contained many valuable trees and some residents hired to protect the forest have conspired with illegal loggers to cut down trees.


He also said local authorities in Huu Lien Commune had agreed to protect 4,000 hectares of forest for VND100,000 (US$5.62) per hectare, but they in turn handed the job over to residents for VND90,000 per hectare, keeping a small fee for themselves and paying no attention to the protection work. In the first quarter this year, Huu Lung park rangers unearthed 220 cases of illegal logging, and confiscated 55 cubic meters of logs and several vehicles. Nguyen Thanh Ha, a forest inspector in Phuoc Son District in Quang Nam Province, said a recent investigation from April 28 to May 6 led to a seizure of 42.2 cubic meters of illegal logs.

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