Vietnam jails forest rangers for taking $4,600 bribe from timber smugglers

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Thanh Hoa forest rangers stand trial on September 29 for soliciting and taking a bribe. Photo credit: VnExpress Thanh Hoa forest rangers stand trial on September 29 for soliciting and taking a bribe. Photo credit: VnExpress

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A court in Thanh Hoa Province in central Vietnam on Tuesday sentenced two forest rangers to four and eight years in jail for soliciting and taking a bribe from a company to release its illegal timber truck. 
Local media said Le Van Hai, deputy head of the mobile rangers division at Thanh Hoa’s forest management department, received four years, and Le Duc Hai, head of a team directly checking the truck, eight years. 
The court said it gave the rangers reduced sentences after considering their family background. 
Police caught Duc Hai taking VND100 million (US$4,600) from an employee of the company on August 1 last year, right in front of his office.
The indictment said Hai had tried to fight the arrest and hide the bag of money in an attempt to deny the accusation.
It said he had solicited the cash from the company, as its truck was carrying nearly 1.6 cubic meters of undocumented rare wood.
Duc Hai consulted Van Hai before taking the money. The latter agreed as Duc Hai promised to give him a share.
Police came to the rangers’ office after the company filed a complaint.
Representatives of the company are not charged for giving bribes as they have reported the case and cooperated in the investigation. It is unclear if they will be prosecuted for the illegal timber. 

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