From: Associated Press
Published September 14, 2004 12:00 AM

Vietnam Detains 30 People in a Crackdown on Illegal Gold Mine

HANOI, Vietnam — Thirty people have been detained for running an illegal gold mine in central Vietnam that employed hundreds of workers, officials said Monday.


Eleven of the men taken into custody Sunday employed laborers to work in the mine, said a border guard official in Quang Nam province. The 19 others were suspected of involvement in illegal drug dealings.


Authorities also sent 430 workers back to their northern provinces and destroyed gold camp huts and mining equipment, the official said on condition of anonymity.


A gold rush started in Nam Giang District on the border with Laos more than 10 years ago. Border guard forces were dispatched to disperse the workers two or three times a month but were unable to prevent them from returning due to budget constraints, he said.


This time, special border guard forces were sent in to carry out the crackdown, he said.


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The gold rush has created environmental pollution from cyanide used to extract the gold and rampant drug abuse, he said.


Dozens of illegal gold miners have been killed in recent years when the poorly stabilized tunnels have collapsed in neighboring Phuoc Son District.


Source: Associated Press


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