The Investigation Police Agency in the northern province of Quang Binh on Wednesday began an investigation to look into the cutting down of three priceless Sua trees in the Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park in April.
Nguyen Van Hieu, head of the Investigation Agency said that individuals responsible for this act would face criminal prosecution for violating the law and for exploiting forest wealth particularly in a protected national park.
The agency will send a team of officials to examine the scene of the deforestation incident and report back after assessing the situation.
Early in April this year, after learning that lumberjacks had earned hundreds of billions of dong from Sua timber, cut from the Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, residents by the hundreds from Son Trach, Xuan Trach and Phuc Trach Communes in Bo Trach District made a mad rush into the forest to also grab the rare timber, creating chaos and unruly fights.
The provincial authorities have since been patrolling the area and have seized more than 720 kilograms of Sua timber.
On Wednesday, the Forest Management Division of the Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park arrested four people for buying Sua timber by pretending to be tourists. Forest rangers were able to catch only these four, while seven others ran away. However, the rangers seized VND82 million, US$9,400 and THB1,000 in cash amounts. The four arrested declared that they had come to the forest to buy Sua timber.