Prosecutors in Thanh Hoa Province in central Vietnam on Monday charged a senior forest ranger and his deputy for asking a company to pay a bribe to have its illegal timber truck released.
Investigators from the Ministry of Public Security caught Le Duc Hai, head of the mobile rangers division of the province, taking VND100 million (US$4,600) from an employee of a company on August 1 last year, right in front of his office.
The indictment said Hai had tried to fight the arrest and threw the bag of money away in an attempt to deny the accusation.
It said he had solicited the payment from the company.
The company's truck was carrying several kinds of rare wood, but the driver failed to produce papers for nearly 1.6 cubic meters of giang huong (Burma Padauk).
His deputy Le Van Hai, 41, was also charged for abetting him in taking bribes and for agreeing to receive a share of the money.
Police came to the rangers’ office after the company filed a complaint.
They said they have received similar complaints from at least three other companies since they started the investigation.
A report from Vietnam’s agriculture ministry released in December 2011 showed that illegal logging caused 6 percent of forest loss in the country.
Officials at a meeting in April said deforestation persisted as it was either condoned or overlooked by the authorities.