Illegal logging of precious timber continues in central Vietnam

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Forest rangers in Quang Binh Province on Sunday said they seized 24 kilograms of Sua timber, following rumors that more of the precious trees were illegally logged in recent days.

A report by Saigon Giai Phong said the timber was found by a local in Xuan Ninh Commune, Quang Ninh District. Forest rangers suspect the wood came from two Sua trees in the province's protective Long Dai forest.

Ranger Phan Mau Phan said the seized timber was from a rather old tree and may be worth a minimum of VND300 million ($14,400).

Rumors circulated during the past week that illegal loggers managed to process a dead and a new Sua tree in the province, amid the time local rangers were struggling to protect timber from three such trees that were felled early last month in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.

In that case, criminal charges have been brought against 11 local loggers, but so far, none have been apprehended.

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Vietnam launches criminal probe into illegal logging of precious wood

In 2007, Vietnam banned commercial use of the precious Sua wood (Dalbergia tonkinensis prain), also known in Vietnamese as "hue." But high demand for the wood in China has kept the illegal business robust.

The country's Penal Code calls for jail terms of two to ten years for those convicted of illegal logging. 

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