Three probed in elephant's death in Vietnam's Central Highlands

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Three people have been put under investigation in the death of an elephant found brutally killed in the Central Highlands of Lam Dong last month, local prosecutors said Tuesday.


Two of the suspects, Phan Dac Mau, a 33-year-old mahout, and Nguyen Ngoc Thuan from the southern province of Dong Nai, were taken into two-month custody, according to prosecutors.


The third person under investigation is Phan Thi Hoa, the director of Nam Qua Ecotourism Company- the company that owns the elephant.


Initial information showed that before the 38-year-old male elephant was killed, Hoa sold it to Dai and Thuan for VND150 million (US$7,281).


After the site where the animal was found dead was studied, Hoa ordered her workers to destroy its whole body including its tusks.


However, during their investigation, police found the tusks estimated to worth over VND500 million ($24,271) at Dai's house.


The tusks have been confiscated and investigations are ongoing, police said.


On April 23 in the Da Lat resort town-based Tuyen Lam Lake Tourism Complex, which includes Nam Qua Tourism Site, an elephant was found tied to a tree with the tendons of its hind legs slashed.


It was found a few kilometers from the hillside where it was left to graze.


Hoa was quoted as saying in Tuoi Tre that the elephant was hired from Dak Lak province seven years ago, and was savagely attacked two times last year.


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