Police in Ho Chi Minh City have imposed stern penalties on a customs officer, who was caught driving in the wrong direction in a video shared on social media last week.
Colonel Ho Van Hiep, chief of police in District 3, confirmed on Monday that Le Hai Hung, 45, an officer from the General Department of Vietnam Customs, had been sanctioned for his traffic violation.
Hung was found to be driving in the wrong lane, while further investigation revealed that his automobile inspection had expired by two months.
The officer was subsequently slapped a VND6 million (US$269) fine, a seven-day vehicle confiscation, and a three-month suspension of his driving license.
The offense was caught on video, filmed by a by-stander, and has sparked outrage from the public.
At around 4:00 pm last Thursday, Hung was driving his car on Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street before entering the wrong lane.
Hung’s driving caused an impact to occur between his vehicle and a car steered by 24-year-old Pham The Anh, who was traveling in the opposite direction.
The customs officer continued his illegal route after the impact, but was eventually stopped by infuriated by-standers.
A traffic police officer later arrived at the scene to deal with the incident.
Several eyewitnesses said that the police officer in the footage was abetting Hung’s actions after he said “there is no problem here” to the crowd.
Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper conducted a brief interview with the law enforcer himself, who was Lieutenant Pham Nguyen Quoc Viet.
According to Lt. Viet, he uttered the words to calm angered witnesses and quickly clear the scene.
As the situation escalated at a time when a delegation visiting from Belgium was also scheduled to use the road, the officer decided to direct both vehicles to a nearby sidewalk.
He later reported the situation, pending decisions from his superiors, Viet explained.