Police in the southern Vietnamese province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau on Monday launched legal proceedings against and arrested a local man for “property appropriation” after he posed as a ‘reporter’ to blackmail a company leader out of VND40 million (US$1,700).
Le Van Ly, 46, was caught red-handed receiving the sum in cash outside a supermarket in Ba Ria, the provincial capital city, on the afternoon of Tuesday last week.
Ly was later identified as a resident of Bau Chinh Commune, Chau Duc District of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, around 90 kilometers east of Ho Chi Minh City.
He allegedly used an invalid ‘reporter certificate’ for the fraud.
According to a preliminary investigation, while crossing Phu My Town in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province on July 26, Ly spotted an outdoor sand depot.
After snapping photos of it, Ly learned from local residents that the owner of this depot is Pham Van M., who lives in District 11 of the province’s Vung Tau City.
Identifying himself as a reporter who was collecting further information about the depot for a news story, Ly sent pictures he took to M., intimidating the victim with the hypothetical detriment a news story might cause.
Ly asked to meet with M. to discuss the situation, which M. agreed.
On the afternoon of July 27, Ly and M. met at a coffee shop in Ba Ria City. Ly presented himself as a reporter for the Nhan Dao & Doi Song (Humanitarian & Life) magazine, then asked M. about the license he had for the sand depot.
After a discussion, Ly settled on a price of VND40 million to halt the news story.
The two met again at the same coffee shop at about midday on June 28, where M. tried to hand Ly the money but Ly refused, fearing the patrons in the packed shop might bear witness to the illicit transaction.
They agreed to regroup at a supermarket in Ba Ria, where Ly was caught red-handed receiving the sum by police officers.
|Police officers search the workplace of Le Van Ly (second left) at an office of the Nhan Dao & Doi Song magazine in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, Vietnam after he allegedly posed as a reporter to blackmail a local company leader. Photo: Quynh Giang / Tuoi re|
Invalid ‘reporter certificate’
Upon investigation, police found Ly carrying a so-called ‘reporter certificate’ issued by a representative office of Nhan Dao & Doi Song in July 2020.
Your correspondent’s research revealed that Ly was recently transferred to work for the e-magazine edition of Nhan Dao & Doi Song.
A representative of Ba Ria-Vung Tau's Department of Information and Communications divulged that the reporter certificate Ly carried with him was wrongfully issued and is therefore completely invalid.
Ly’s name is not found in the registry of Nhan Dao & Doi Song reporters kept by the provincial department, the official added.
|An invalid ‘reporter certificate’ carried by Le Van Ly, who posed as a reporter to blackmail a local company leader in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, Vietnam. Photo: Quynh Giang / Tuoi re|