Vietnamese man jailed in Malaysia for cutting rare wood
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23-year old Nguyen Van Tien from the central province of Quang Binh was sentenced to six years in prison and fined RM200,000 (US$65,000) at a Malaysian court last Tuesday after collecting agarwood in the country’s Penang state.
On January 1, Tien and his two brothers, who later fled, were logging agarwood without a permit at the Forest Reserve in Penang’s Nibong Tebal.
Malay Mail said the five agarwood trees chopped down by Tien and his brothers are believed to be worth RM28,437.50 ($9400).
According to Malaysian law, Tien could have been charged with up to 20 years and a maximum fine of RM500,000 ($165,000)or both.
At the court, Tien asked for leniency, saying that he regretted committing the offence, according to newswire The Star.
The court proceedings were adjourned three times before the sentencing.
Finally, session court Judge Ikmal Hishan Mohd Tajuddin charged Tien a fine of RM200,000 and six years in jail, which started to take effect on February 14.
Penang police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Wira Ayub Yaakob told newswire AsiaOne that the perpetrators, who are members of a syndicate with links to neighboring countries, were armed.