Illegal wood driver arrested after killing ranger during chase

By Lam Vien, Thanh Nien News

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Forest rangers in Lam Dong Province in an illegal logging haul. Photo: Lam Vien Forest rangers in Lam Dong Province in an illegal logging haul. Photo: Lam Vien

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Police in central Vietnam arrested on Sunday an illegal logging truck driver who hit and dragged a forest ranger for 20 meters with his vehicle, killing him on the spot while trying to escape their chase.
Hoang Minh Trung, the 19-year-old truck driver, was arrested at around 2 a.m. Sunday by the police of Da Teh District in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong.
According to the police, Vu Xuan Hai, 53, head of a ranger patrol team of Lam Dong Forest Management Department, spotted the truck at 1.30 a.m. and signaled Trung to stop for a check, but Trung sped off.
Hai and his colleague Cao Viet Lu, 41, gave chase on their bike.
When he was finally caught up, Trung drove his truck into the bike. Lu could jumped out of the bike and suffered some injuries, but Hai was dragged for 20 meters under the truck and died on the spot.
When the police stopped the truck, they found 15 unregistered wood logs measuring around two cubic meters from the truck.
Colleagues said Hai was a tough fighter of illegal loggers, who had sent him death threats.
Corruption, understaff and poor equipment are among factors hindering efforts against illegal logging Vietnam.
Figures from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development released in December 2011 estimated that Vietnam loses nearly 32,000 hectares of forest every year and illegal logging is responsible for six percent of that loss.

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