A forest protection officer in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong was killed on Monday, allegedly in an attack by illegal loggers.
Police said Nguyen Ai Tinh, 49, died with a cut on his neck during a patrol on Monday afternoon. His two colleagues have been hospitalized with severe injuries.
Investigators believed Tinh’s team found a group of people cutting down pine trees in a protected area. The group then called around 100 others to come over and assist them, bringing canes and weapons.
The rangers requested backup, but Tinh died quickly after police arrived.
The case is now being investigated and no arrest has been made.
Vietnam has lost a total of 2,689 hectares (6,644 acres) of forest so far this year, including 694 hectares due to illegal logging, according to the agriculture ministry.
The Central Highlands region, famous for its lush scenery, lost 14 percent of its forest area to illegal logging between 2008 and 2014.
While some forest rangers have been fighting a losing war against the large number of rampant loggers, many officials have been criticized for condoning the crime.