Former customs official faces titanium smuggling charges

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Police in Vietnam have recommended that two people , including a former customs officials, be charged with smuggling 72,000 tons of titanium ore to China.

Investigations have found that Le Van Chien, 33, a former customs official in the central province of Binh Dinh, had shipped the ore through Nguyen Duc Hung, a local, between 2009 and 2010 when he was still in the customs department.

He had obtained a licence to domestically transport the ore, but actually had them smuggled to China.

It is not been clear how much he earned from the illegal trade.

Binh Dinh has for long been making headlines as a hot spot for titanium mining. Locals have accused both legal or illegal miners of destroying their seafood resources and forests and using chemicals that have caused cancer.

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A report by the province Department of Industry and Trade in October 2009 said licensed projects alone mined 620,000 tons a year though a plan had set a limit of 100,000 tons by 2025.  

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