Can Tho ex-traffic inspectors get jail terms, life sentence for extortion

A group of former traffic inspectors in Can Tho City, in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, have been sentenced to between seven years and life for demanding ‘protection money’ from local businesses

Doan Vu Duy during the trial at the People’s Court in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on July 11, 2017

The municipal People’s Court announced their final decision on Tuesday afternoon regarding the violations of the traffic officers.

Doan Vu Duy, the ex-chief of a district-level traffic inspection unit in Can Tho, received a life sentence, the highest term amongst the group.

Duong Minh Tam, the city’s former deputy chief traffic inspector, was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Vo Hoang Anh and Ly Hoang Minh were given 15 and nine years, respectively, while Nguyen Tran Luu, Ho Cong Thien, and Tran Lap Phap were each handed seven-year terms.

Anh, Minh, Luu, Thien, and Phap had all been leaders and officials at several district-level traffic inspection units.

Nguyen Van Can and Tran Tuong An were sentenced to 20 years and seven years in prison, respectively, for being intermediaries in the crime.

The defendants were also required to pay fines worth VND110 million (US$4,831).

According to the indictment, the ex-traffic inspectors, with the help of their mediators, were forcing local businesses to pay regular fees in return for their ‘protection.’

If the payment requests were denied, the companies would likely be fined for traffic violations whenever their vehicles traveled on local streets.

Between 2013 and 2016, the former inspectors abused their power to extort some VND4.1 billion ($180,072).

Among the corrupt officers, Duy claimed the most in ‘protection fees,’ nearly VND2.8 billion ($122,976) from a total of 57 businesses.

Several victims filed reports denouncing the corruption in early 2016.

In July of the same year, police officers caught Minh red-handed receiving bribes from a local company.

The other suspects were nabbed between July and September last year.

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