7 detained in illegal logging of rare wood in central Vietnam

By Hua Xuyen Huynh, Thanh Nien News

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A felled Fujian cypress tree in Nam Giang Province A felled Fujian cypress tree in Nam Giang Province


Seven people have been detained in connection with a massive illegal smuggling in a central Vietnam, police said.
Four of them were arrested and the other three gave themselves up to the authorities, the police of Quang Nam Province said, refusing to disclose their identities citing the ongoing investigation.
The investigation was launched in July after logs of Fujian cypress, a rare wood named in Vietnam's list of threatened species, were found hidden in Nam Giang, a district bordering Laos.
The police soon found out more Fujian cypress logs hidden near and on the premises of the border guard station and the customs office of Nam Giang.
Four border guard officers and a customs official have been suspended pending the investigation. 
The police said up to 60 Fujian cypress trees had been felled in Nam Giang forest.
The "extremely serious" illegal logging might have been "covered up by state officials and agencies," Dinh Van Thu, chairman of the People's Council of Quang Nam, said last month.
The case also caught the attention of the prime minister, who this week directed authorities of Quang Nam to report to him about the investigation by Aug. 25.
Vietnam lost a total of 694 hectares of forest to illegal logging in the first seven months of 2016, official statistics showed.

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