Red River sand exploitation still a threat to local residents

The illegal extraction of sand that has taken place since the beginning of March is threatening the Thuy Phu dyke corridor that runs alongside the Hong (Red) River in Hanoi ’s Phu Xuyen district and the lives and farmland of hundreds of families.
The illegal extraction of sand that has taken place since the beginning of March is threatening the Thuy Phu dyke corridor that runs alongside the Hong (Red) River in Hanoi ’s Phu Xuyen district and the lives and farmland of hundreds of families.

Lieutenant-Colonel Le Van Phuc, head of the city’s Waterway Police Unit 3, said that since the beginning of the month, more than 10 illegal sand dredgers had been seized and fined at 9.4 million VND per dredge.

Phuc said that the situation became serious when the dredgers took advantages of the ill-defined borders and boundaries of police jurisdiction between Hanoi and Hung Yen and Ha Nam provinces.

Do Chi Hoa, a citizen near Thuy Phu Dyke, said that the illegal sand exploitation activities took place at night when the policemen did not carry out patrols. They dredged sand just near the dyke.

Nguyen Van Muoi, a construction material dealer, said that the price of sand was much higher than last year, reaching 300,000-400,000 VND per cubic metre. In a night, sand dredgers are able to extract scores of cubic metres of sand.

Senior Lieutenant-Colonel Vu Son Hai, deputy head of Law Guidance and Waterway Transport Unit of Waterway Department, said illegal sand dredging on Red River was very dangerous because they changed the river current and caused riverbanks to erode, threatening the safety corridor system and other irrigation works.

Hai said that at least, each month the unit dealt with 10 illegal sand exploitation cases.

Khuat Duy Kieu, head of the Waterway Police Unit, said that illegal sand dredgers would have their transport vehicles seized by the capital’s waterway police if they were caught committing illegal acts.

Kieu said that this was one of the measures that deployed by the city’s waterway police during their one-month campaign to prevent and deal with illegal sand dredging.

Staff from the Waterway Police had been ordered to patrol at night and early morning, he said.

Phuc said that the city’s police would cooperate with neighbouring provinces as well as use more modern equipments to catch illegal sand dredgers.

According to city police statistics, there are 32 hotspots favoured by illegal sand dredgers along the river, with 111 reported cases of illegal sand dredging in the city./.

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