A team of over 200 Ministry of Public Security officers on Saturday raided a large-scale, criminal sand dredging operation on the Red River.
City police accompanied ministry investigators during the raid in Hanoi’s Phuc Tho District, which borders Vinh Phuc Province.
The team apprehended 30 suspects and seized three cranes, 21 dredging ships and 30 barges of varying sizes.
A large cache of weapons was also confiscated from the site.
Police say evidence gathered at the scene indicates that the thieves were raking in roughly VND1 billion (US$47,000) per day and were capable of selling 2,000 cubic meters of sand that they had illegally scooped out of the river bed.
A source from the ministry said they also suspect that the operation was overseen by a group of gangsters operating under the guise of a legitimate business based in the district.
Phuc Tho Police did not participate in the raid.
Minister of Public Security Tran Dai Quang ordered for the investigation after sand dredging persisted in the river every night in spite of previous raids.
Hanoi has not licensed anyone to dredge sand from the bed of the Red River.