Authorities in the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum said Wednesday an official who knocked out a neighbor with a hoe would be punished if his guilt was established.
Nguyen Duc Hoang, chief inspector of the provincial Department of Health, has attracted considerable public opprobrium after a video clip of the attack was posted online, but, bizarrely, no criminal or official action has been initiated against him.
Nguyen Van Hung, chairman of Kon Tum Province People’s Committee, told the Tien Phong (Pioneer) newspaper that he had ordered local police to investigate the case.
Anyone, even those who hold high positions, must be strictly punished if they are found guilty of misconduct, he said.
In the video clip that went viral, Hoang is seen striking Phan Kim Uyen Tram, 41, on October 25 after the woman got into a quarrel with his mother-in-law, Pham Thi Quyt. Tram and Quyt, 41, neighbors, were quarreling over some land.
Tram fell unconscious with blood all over her face, and was rushed to hospital. The attack left her with a 7cm gash on the head and a torn left eyelid.
Several police officers were present but could not stop Hoang, who was too quick for them, according to eyewitnesses.
A local resident captured the incident on his mobile phone and posted the clip on the Internet.
Hoang continues to go to office as usual, while Tram is still being treated at hospital.
Nguyen Thi Ven, director of the provincial Health Department, told Thanh Nien Wednesday the department had ordered Hoang to report on the case. If the clip is true, Hoang will surely be punished for violating the ethics code of state officers, Ven said.
Hoang told the Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that he did not intentionally hit Tram, and that the injury happened during a struggle.
However, he later claimed in an interview with newswire Dan Tri that the one who struck Tram's head with a hoe was in fact his younger brother, as the two families had gotten into a chaotic brawl.