Illegal loggers operating right under the nose of authorities
  • | | July 28, 2010 06:13 PM

Next in the series, DTiNews reporters confronted forest protection officers to find answers regarding obvious illegal activities of loggers in Thuong Hoa Forest.

>> DTiNews exposes illegal loggers

Saving Thuong Hoa Forest is a difficult task

After leaving Thuong Hoa Forest, we went to Thuong Hoa forest protection station to question the blatant evidence of open-logging.

Ho Nguyen Ngoc, Manager of the Thuong Hoa forest protection station, did not wish to speak with reporters regarding the deforestation in Thuong Hoa Jungle.

After some resistance, he said with certainty that deforestation could not happen here and his team had not discovered any timber which had been cut down by loggers or that was waiting to be transported.

However, after a few hours, the Quang Binh provincial forest protection force in coordination with the nearby Khe Sen forest protection force found a large amount of logs stacked right in the jungle.

DTiNews reporters confronted Dinh Van Cam, Director of Minh Hoa Plantation (Thuong Hoa Forest is managed by the Minh Hoa Plantation).

“Our forest protection forces have few people. Furthermore, we have financial difficulties because the state does not provide us with financial support,” added Cam. “When Minh Hoa Plantation started managing Thuong Hoa Forest, it had been nearly destroyed.”

Cam also said that he would investigate and verify information on corruption at the Thuong Hoa forest protection station and would impose serious punishments if the information was accurate.

Ha Thanh Hai, Leader of the Task force of the Border Guard Station 585 confirmed that loggers were illegally operating in Thuong Hoa Forest. However, border guards would only take action when they were asked by functional agencies.

Although there are many forest protection stations such as Cha Noi, Khe Sen, Khe Gat, Trooc, Thuong Hoa, and Border Guard Station 585 surrounding Thuong Hoa Forest; loggers are allowed to go past these stations without cover.

Phan Duy Tri, Vice Manager of Cha Noi Forest Protection Station explained, "After the death of a logger when we were in pursuit of him, we changed our policy. Now, we check only trucks if we are sure they are transporting wood out of the forest."

Answering why 4 forest guards of Cha Noi Forest Protection Station drove away when they saw DTiNews reporters at the entrance of the jungle, Tri said, “There is no way they were accepting bribes. They were on duty to prevent forest fires. They went there to answer phone calls only.”

Nguyen Cam Sam, Manager of the Khe Sen Forest Protection Station said that they had not discovered any logging cases since early this year. Thanks to coordination between the police and mobile forest guards, deforestation here has been improved. It’s easy for them to discover and confiscate timber kept in the forest but it’s very challenging for them to uncover when timber is loaded into trucks.

He denied the information about corruption at his station, “It never happens that Khe Sen forest guards receive bribes from loggers.”

If functional agencies were determined to stop the smuggling of timber with many forest protection stations surrounding Thuong Hoa Forest, it would be a big challenge for loggers to enter the jungle and nearly impossible for them to set up a smuggling ring like this.

Logs piled up right in front of the Thuong Hoa Forest Protection Station

Evidence of logging

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