Illegal loggers attack police, forest rangers in northern Vietnam
Friday, November 08, 2002
By Associated Press
HANOI, Vietnam Illegal loggers in northwestern Vietnam assaulted a
group of police officers and forest rangers, pelting them with
stones and injuring several in a clash over contraband timber, a
local official said Thursday.
Three police officers were seriously injured and two forest rangers
were hurt in the clash on Tuesday, said Lu Van Thung, chief forest
ranger of Muong Lay District in Lai Chau, 550 kilometers (342 miles)
northwest of Hanoi.
Tipped off by villagers, six forest rangers went to retrieve 1.7
cubic meters (2.21 cubic yards) of illegally cut timber but were
soon surrounded by a dozen loggers, Thung said.
The rangers called in police reinforcements, but the loggers were
aided by more than 100 villagers who fought off officials with
rocks, he said.
One of the forest rangers was taken hostage for a couple of hours
before the district chief negotiated his release, Thung said. The
villagers made off with the illegal timber, he said.
Police are investigating the case, and three men have been
identified as the leaders of the attacks.
Several cases of forest rangers getting attacked by loggers have
been reported this year in Vietnam, where many people illegally cut
down trees for timber or to make way for coffee or tea crops.
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