Police drop bribery case against forest rangers for lack of evidence

Thanh Nien News

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A photo posted on Facebook shows a group of men logging trees in Gia Lai Province. Photo credit: Nguoi Lao Dong A photo posted on Facebook shows a group of men logging trees in Gia Lai Province. Photo credit: Nguoi Lao Dong

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Police in Gia Lai Province have cited lack of evidence as they stopped the investigation into accusations that forest rangers received bribes from illegal loggers.
The investigation was launched in April after a man posted on a Facebook page photos of illegal logging in the Central Highland province, and a video clip in which a logger was heard saying that he paid rangers VND10,000 for each wood log that he smuggled out of the forest.
The police, however, said there was insufficient evidence to build a bribery case against local forest rangers.
The local forest ranger office would decided the punishment for the loggers caught in the photos and video, the police said.
The man who posted them on Facebook, Vu Dinh Loc, 24, told the police that he did that for "fun."
The video clip showed around ten men resting near around 50 motorbikes loaded with timber logs.
Loc said in the clip that he himself chopped down 5.6 cubic meters of wood.
Local authorities admitted that they are aware of the rampant logging but claimed that the area is too big for them to manage.
A report from Vietnam’s agriculture ministry released in December 2011 showed that illegal logging caused six 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.

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