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Reckless driver faces criminal charges over pile-up in Saigon River Tunnel

Tuesday, June 27, 2017, 17:30 GMT+7

A driver who crashed into multiple cars after traveling in the wrong direction through the Saigon River Tunnel in Ho Chi Minh City last week may be criminally charged, police said on Monday.

District 1 traffic police said they had completed their investigation into the accident, whereby Nguyen Van Sang slammed his four-seater sedan into three other cars in the middle of the underwater tunnel on the night of June 22.

“The case has been transferred to the municipal investigative police unit to decide on whether or not the driver should be criminally charged,” a senior officer of the District 1 traffic police said.

According to police, the total financial damage caused by the driver had surpassed the criminal threshold.

Following the crash, the reckless driver was pulled from his car in an intoxicated state and was rushed to the nearest hospital.

Police later confirmed that the 49-year-old man had been drinking before getting behind the wheel.

A total of three cars were struck by the wrong-way sedan and were severely damaged, with the drivers of those vehicles collectively demanding more than VND100 million (US$4,400) in damages, according to the District 1 traffic police.

“The investigating police will verify if the damages are more than VND100 million and decide whether to criminally probe the case,” the police officer said.

As per the 1999 Penal Code, an individual may be criminally charged for causing financial damage worth VND50 million ($2,200) or more. 

According to the new 2015 Penal Code, that threshold is now VND100 million.

The lawmaking National Assembly passed a resolution on June 20, stipulating that the new penal code become effective on January 1, 2018.

“This means that even when the new penal code is applied, the driver is still likely to be criminally charged,” lawyer Nguyen Duc Chanh from the Ho Chi Minh City Bar Association, commented.

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