Vietnam ranger in bribery probe threatens to kill inspector

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Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park authorities said Tuesday they would censure a forest ranger who threatened to kill an inspector who was probing alleged corruption by him in an illegal logging case.

Doan Thanh Binh, an inspector at the park forest management unit, was investigating if Nguyen Huu Tri, deputy head of the unit, took a 15-kilogram "sua" tree worth nearly VND200 million (US$9,600) as a bribe to let illegal loggers spirit away three other trees, Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper reported.

Binh said Tri had caused him trouble during work. One time he called him on the phone and said he could make him lose his job, and can have his superiors killed as well, Binh said.

Binh filed a report following his investigation, but details are not available.

The three "sua" (Dalbergia tonkinensis prain) trees were illegally logged in the park, a UNESCO heritage site, at the end of March and the wood was smuggled out a month later.

Police have arrested 11 locals and confiscated the three trees weighing 2.7 tons and estimated to be worth VND120 billion ($5.76 million) on the black market.


The government banned the use of "sua" wood for commercial purposes in 2007.

But huge demand for the wood for decorative and medicinal purposes in China sustains the illegal logging and trade.

The tree is found mostly in Vietnam and China, but also in India and Africa.

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