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7 Jailed for 32 Years in Total for Poisoning Pine Trees in Lam Dong


Tuoi Tre reports that a group of seven men, including one official, received a combined 32 years and three months in prison for poisoning 10 hectares of pine trees in Lam Dong Province last year. They were indicted for "property destruction and lack of responsibility that caused damage to the property of the state, agencies, organizations and enterprises."

In April of 2019, local officials discovered a swath of poisoned pine trees in Tan Thanh Commune, Lam Ha District. An estimated 638 cubic meters of timber was damaged by the poison, worth roughly VND750 million (US$32,200).

According to the news source, the group's leaders told local police that they planned to kill the trees so that they could take control of the land and sell it. Bach Dinh Ke, 38, gave electric drills and herbicide to three of the men, and also paid them VND500,000-700,000 per day for the task. Ke was jailed for six years.

The longest sentence handed down to the men was seven years, and the shortest was five years. Meanwhile, an official in charge of protecting the area was jailed for 15 months for failing to do their job.

Pine forests are frequent victims of crimes, including deliberate poisoning and resin theft. In November 2018, Authorities in Lam Dong Province also discovered 647 trees with holes drilled and herbicide injected into them. Last December, officials in Tam Dao National Park discovered a long-running resin theft operation. Approximately 1,300 trees, many of which are decades old, had large gashes in their trunks to allow for the gathering of natural resin, which can be sold for VND50,000 to VND100,000 per kilogram.

[Photo via Flickr user BK Pham]

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