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Vietnam minister apologizes after state car picked up family at airport

Wednesday, January 09, 2019, 13:28 GMT+7
Vietnam minister apologizes after state car picked up family at airport
Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh has issued an official apology after drawing public criticism for having a state car sent to an airport in Hanoi to pick up his family on Friday.

A car owned by the Ministry of Industry and Trade was seen waiting at the airplane gate after Vietnam Airlines flight VN262 landed at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi on Friday evening.

Minister Anh was not on the flight, sparking rumors that he had sent the state car to pick up his family members.

Anh issued an official apology on Tuesday, confirming that a ministry car had indeed been sent to the airplane gate to pick up his family, but did not clarify whether he was the one behind the order.

“As the top leader of the Ministry of Industry and Trade and a family member of those involved, I would like to publicly take the blame for what happened,” Anh wrote in a letter addressed to “the media”.

Anh said it took him so long to respond to the incident because he had been hospitalized for treatment of a cardiovascular condition at Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi.

“Allow me and my family to apologize to all passengers on board flight VN262 on the evening of January 4, 2019,” Anh wrote.

“I also want to apologize to the people, Party leaders, the State and my fellow colleagues.”

Anh said he considered the incident a “profound lesson” for him, his family, and the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

“I will have the issue thoroughly reviewed to make sure no similar incident can occur in the future,” Anh said.

An official apology written by Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh.
An official apology written by Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh.

What happened

The Northern Airports Authority said it received a letter from the Office of the Ministry of Industry and Trade on Thursday, informing that Minister Anh would have a working trip in Ho Chi Minh City on January 3-4 and that he would leave for Hanoi on flight VN262 departing at 5:00 pm on Friday.

The ministry owns two state cars that are already cleared for entering the airport’s apron area to pick up VIPs.

At 6:30 pm on Friday, one of the ministry’s cars passed security control and approached the gate of the Vietnam Airlines plane which had just landed.

The car left the airport at 7:10 pm after picking up its passengers.

Tran Hoai Phuong, director of the Northern Airports Authority, said the authorization of state cars to enter the airport for picking up VIPs is in pursuant with current regulations on security control at Vietnamese airports.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade is responsible for whom it wants to pick up with the authorized cars, Phuong said.

A source of Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper said Minister Tran Tuan Anh was supposed to leave for Hanoi on the Friday flight, but he had to be hospitalized earlier than planned after his health worsened.

Anh was not aware that the ministry office had requested that a car been sent to the airport to pick up his wife and child, according to a leader of the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

As of Wednesday, Anh is still receiving treatment at Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi, the official said.

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Tuan Son / Tuoi Tre News

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