A commune-leveled party chief in Vietnam’s Central Highlands has allegedly murdered a man and use the victim’s body to fake his own death in an attempt for his family to claim VND18 billion (US$769,300) in an insurance payout.
The Department of Police in Dak Nong Province on Monday organized a press meeting to announce the result of their investigation into the case, in which the prime suspect is Do Van Minh, 49, who is secretary of the Party Committee in Lien Ha Commune of Lam Ha District in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong.
Minh claimed he had previously incurred VND10 billion ($427,500) in debt.
In early April, the man bought a life insurance plan worth over VND200 million ($8,500) a year.
As part of the insurance terms, his family would receive a VND18 billion ($769,300) payout if he passes away.
Minh then came up with a plan to fake his own death so that his family would benefit from the insurance plan.
On April 20, he arrived at a local cemetery with the intention of digging up a corpse for the stunt, but eventually gave up due to exhaustion.
Minh then planned to murder Tran Nho Vuong, 25, who was a nephew of his wife.
Vuong worked at one of Minh’s two farms in Dal G‘long District in Dak Nong. Minh often visited his farms and had meals with Vuong on the weekend.
The two had dinner as usual on May 3.
At around 5:00 am on May 4, Minh killed Vuong by hitting his head with an axe before driving the victim’s body on his pickup truck to National Highway 18.
|Police in Dak Nong Province, Vietnam hold a press meeting on an alleged murder case involving a man faking his own death to claim insurance benefits on May 11, 2020. Photo: Trung Tan / Tuoi Tre|
Minh intentionally crashed the vehicle into the side of the road before wearing his watch on the victim’s wrist.
He left the corpse and the car key inside and set the vehicle on fire with nearly ten liters of gasoline.
Minh then walked to a nearby house, where he had parked his motorbike in advance, and escaped on the bike to the southern province of Binh Phuoc, where he stayed at a rental house.
As the body was severely burned, Minh’s family members and authorities initially thought it was Minh who had been killed in the crash.
His funeral was later organized. Meanwhile, Vuong’s mother started to worry as her son was nowhere to be found.
Police officers eventually suspected that it was a staged accident given the evidence they had collected.
Minh was arrested in Binh Phuoc on May 10.
At the police station, Minh claimed he did not have any conflict with the victim.
The suspect also admitted to having bought a new SIM card and pretended to be another person to text his son, in what he said was an attempt to comfort the child over his ‘death’.
Minh added he had watched his own funeral as he had the password to access the CCTV system installed at his home.
Police have launched legal proceedings against Minh for “murder” and are carrying further investigation to verify whether or not other members of Minh’s family are involved in the case.