17-year-old commits suicide after police questioning for theft

Thanh Nien News

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The note that Nguyen Thanh Tam left before committing suicide. Photo credit: Tran Mai/Tuoi Tre The note that Nguyen Thanh Tam left before committing suicide. Photo credit: Tran Mai/Tuoi Tre


A 17-year-old schoolboy has committed suicide in the central province of Quang Ngai after being taken to a police station for questioning about stealing money from a neighbor.
The parents of Nguyen Thanh Tam, 17, said he left a note saying he could not countenance the wrongful accusation. They have complained to relevant authorities.
His mother, Truong Thi Thai, said Tam had been in school on January 11 when two officers, Huynh Van Chung and Huynh Ngoc Danh, took him to the police station.
She only knew about it later after seeing Tam and some officers at an Internet shop.
“Two policemen also raided our house to see if my son was hiding something,” she said.
Tam was released that evening after she signed a document at the police station, she said.
Tam’s father, Nguyen Van Huong, said: “After going home, he said he had been wrongly accused. He had to confess to stealing the money to avoid beatings from the police.”
Two days later they found Tam unconscious at home after consuming a herbicide and rushed him to a Da Nang hospital.
On January 15 the hospital discharged him saying they would not be able to save him. He died two days later.
His family has complained that the police arrested him without inform them and coerced him into making a wrong confession.
But Nguyen Tan Linh, a local official, was quoted by Tuoi Tre newspaper as saying that the police interrogated Tam in his uncle’s presence.
Tam had stolen money and phone cards from the neighbour on many occasions, he claimed.
Colonel Nguyen Manh Cuong said Tam had dropped out of school before joining again recently and been involved in many thefts.
“His mother and uncle were there when we were with him. He admitted to stealing 22 bicycles and a motorbike.”

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