VietNamNet Bridge – Chinese merchants have been hunting for ironwood and many other precious timber in Quang Binh province. Prior to that, they hunted for sua wood (dalbergia tonkinensis) in many central provinces.
Chinese lumber merchants break into Ke Bang forest?
Three old sua trees were chopped down in Hung Tri, belonging to the area put under the stringent security precautions of the Phong Nha – Ke Bang National park. Local residents said that they saw Chinese merchants, who came to the forests to order to collect the precious wood.
Nguyen N, a lumber merchant, told Saigon Tiep Thi reporters that three Chinese people turned up in early May together with a group of people from Hai Phong City. “They were escorted and protected by some ringleaders, who had crew-cuts and had northern accent. I heard that they were the Chinese merchants, who came to Vietnam to look for sua wood,” N said.
A man named Hai said he really admires Chinese merchants, who could wander up hill and down dale to reach out to the forest to negotiate the prices.
One of the suspected criminals in the sua tree pull-down, Thai Xuan Tien from Phuc Trach District in Quang Binh, has confirmed that Chinese merchants came to see them face to face to negotiate the prices.
“The Chinese merchants, through an interpreter with northern accent, said they wanted to buy all the sua wood available. However, at that time, we needed to keep vigilant over the forest rangers; therefore, we could not sell the wood. They left after two days of staying there,” he said.
Saigon Tiep Thi reporters then found out that in early May, some Chinese merchants with tourism passports stayed at three guest houses and hotels in Son Trach Commune of Bo Trach district.
The receptionists of the hotels and guest houses said the merchants did not go for sightseeing, but they went further to Phuc Trach and Xuan Trah communes. The final accommodation of the Chinese merchants in Vietnam was a hotel, where the reporters could take picture of the passports, which showed that they entered Vietnam on May 2 across the Lang Son border gate.
An officer of the hotel revealed that he could see the tattoos on the Chinese bodies, and swords and guns as well. Meanwhile, when the reporters asked the police about the information, they were told that the police were still taking necessary steps to clarify the information.
Quang Binh is the locality with the highest forest coverage in the country, at 60 percent. There are also the forests 90 percent primary. However, even the province is also seeing the forests devastated because of the big orders for wood from Chinese.
Chinese lumber merchants live together with Vietnamese
In Dong Hoi City of Quang Binh province, local residents saw some strange people regularly turning up at the homes of some big Vietnamese wood traders. The owner of a tea shop next to the Ga Market, said that she was sure the people were Chinese, who came to order H, a well known merchant, to collect wood from Laos and Quang BInh province. After that, the timber would be shipped to China.
H, P and T, the three big Vietnamese lumber merchants, have allowed the Chinese people to stay at their homes.
The tea shop owner affirmed that the three merchants are seeking 1000 cubic meters of wood to provide to Chinese. Besides sua wood, Chinese also hunt for ironwood and other kinds of precious timber.
Especially, the ironwood prices have increasing rapidly. A plank of ironwood with the thickness of 5 cm, which was sold in Dong Hoi City at 700,000 dong, is now selling at 1 million dong. Meanwhile, Chinese would pay 2 million dong in case of short supply.