Citing pollution and worker concerns, Bokeo authorities take action against some Chinese producers.
Meetings were only casual social contacts, Sommaly Thammavong says.
Government officials say their program putting officials’ assets under the microscope is working.
A demand for ransom leads to a sting, arrests and a rescue.
State employees often do outside work on company time to make ends meet, sources say.
Compensation and labor issues remain unsettled as work begins in earnest on the project.