In Vietnam, rangers among 40 people indicted in deforestation case

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In Vietnam, rangers among 40 people indicted in deforestation case

The scene of a deforestation case in Dak Lak Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tam An / Tuoi Tre

The People’s Procuracy of Ea Kar District in Dak Lak Province, Vietnam has issued an indictment against 40 people, including two forest protection officers, in a deforestation case at Ea So Nature Reserve, a source told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Sunday.

The two officers are Hoang Cong Y, 47, and Vuong The Cao, 41, who are head and deputy head of two forest protection stations at Ea So Nature Reserve.

Y, Cao, and Hoang Cong Nhat, who is Y’s 43-year-old brother, were indicted on charges of “taking bribes,” while “giving bribes” and “violating regulations on exploitation and protection of forests and forest products” were the indictments for 37 other people in the case.

In September 2020, Le Mo Y Cum, better known as Ma Khanh, who is a 37-year-old resident of Song Hinh District in Phu Yen Province, arranged for a group of people to go to Ea So Nature Reserve to illegally cut logs and sell them for money, according to the indictment.

Suspects indicted in a deforestation case in Dak Lak Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tam An / Tuoi Tre
Suspects indicted in a deforestation case in Dak Lak Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tam An / Tuoi Tre

Y Cum reached out to Y and had the latter agree on letting him and his group unlawfully exploit wood at two sub-zones under Y’s management at the nature reserve, on the condition that the loggers would use handsaws to avoid making noise.

Y Cum paid Y VND700,000 (US$31) for each member in his group every logging time while each logger handed over VND1.2 million ($53) to him after each trip.

After reaching the deal, Y showed Y Cum a route to avoid the attention of other rangers at the nature reserve.

The scene of a deforestation case in Dak Lak Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tam An / Tuoi Tre
The scene of a deforestation case in Dak Lak Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tam An / Tuoi Tre

Meanwhile, Cao was responsible for informing Y Cum of the rangers’ patrol schedules and covering up for the loggers whenever they transported the cut wood out of the nature reserve.

Y Cum and his group exploited the Ea So Nature Reserve twice between October and November 2020, cutting down over 25 cubic meters of wood worth above VND175 million ($7,714).

The total bribes Y received from Y Cum through Nhat, who completely understood the nature of the transactions, totaled VND35 million ($1,543), of which VND4 million ($176) was given to Cao.

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