Lam Dong Province park rangers have arrested seven people accused of illegal logging in a forest in Di Linh District adjacent to Lam Ha District where a park ranger was allegedly killed by illegal loggers three days earlier.
The seven, aged from 19 to 43, were taken in at around 3 a.m. August 10 from makeshift shacks in the forest. Ngo Van Thao, 36, managed to escape.
The officers also seized many logs, saws and motorbikes.
They said the arrestees were among dozens of people illegally logging timber in the forest and transporting it on National Highway 28B, which runs to Binh Thuan Province.
Lam Dong park rangers have stepped up surveillance following Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s instructions in June to prevent cutting down of natural forests and the murder of the ranger earlier this week.
Two other officers with the murdered ranger were seriously injured during a patrol on the afternoon of August 8 when they were attacked by some 100 illegal loggers.
Nguyen Ai Tinh, 49, died of a machete slash to the neck.
The murder is being investigated and no arrests have been made yet.
Vietnam has lost a total of 2,689 hectares (6,644 acres) of forest so far this year, including 694 ha to illegal logging, according to the agriculture ministry.
The Central Highlands, known for its vast natural forests, lost 14 percent of its forests to illegal logging between 2008 and 2014.
While some rangers have been fighting a losing war against the rampant logging, many officials have been criticized for their alleged connivance.