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Vietnam jails journalist for blackmail

Friday, April 14, 2017, 20:32 GMT+7

A former newspaper reporter in the central Vietnamese city of Da Nang has been sentenced to 15 months behind bars for blackmailing a local resident.

The sentence was handed down by the People’ Court in Lien Chieu District, Da Nang, on Wednesday to Nguyen Manh Hung, a former journalist for Lang Nghe Viet (Vietnamese Craft Village) Newspaper.

According to the indictment, Hung discovered that Dang Thi Hong Hai was building a house with several adjustments to its approved design on Thich Quang Duc Street in Lien Chieu District in early August 2016.

The reporter then contacted Hai, saying he had written an article about the violations and would be publishing the story on the newspaper’s website unless she paid VND10 million (US$437).

The offer was turned down.

As a result, People’s Committee officials in Lien Chieu arrived at the house a few days later and made a report of its offenses.

Though Hung’s article was published on August 18, the journalist continued in his attempts to blackmail Hai, this time seeking VND20 million ($875) in return for not publishing a second story that would surly lead to the construction being dismantled.

Hai arranged to meet Hung at a local café to pay the money.

During the transaction, police officers raided the café and caught Hung red-handed.

Hung had admitted to blackmail during his trial.

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