2 jailed in fatal attack linked to traffic cops

By Phan Thuong, Thanh Nien News

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Le Thanh Bang waits for his verdict as Vo Van Tong stands behind him at a Ho Chi Minh City court. Photo: Phan Thuong Le Thanh Bang waits for his verdict as Vo Van Tong stands behind him at a Ho Chi Minh City court. Photo: Phan Thuong


A Ho Chi Minh City court on Wednesday sentenced two men to jail for the death of a motorbike rider in a high-profile case of violence that had been linked to traffic police officers. 
Le Thanh Bang, 38, and Vo Van Tong, 20, received nine and four years respectively as the Tan Phu District People’s Court found them guilty of assaulting the victim Tran Van Hien.
According to the indictment, on April 9, 2013, Hien was riding his motorbike home, after drinking with his relatives.
A group of police officers spotted him and pulled him over for an alcohol test.
They impounded his bike, after he failed the test.
Hien allegedly attempted to bribe the officers but his offer was turned down, so he started arguing with them.
The man also threatened to film the officers with his phone, before leaving on a xe om motorbike taxi.
He soon found he was being chased by Bang and Tong. When the duo caught him, they repeatedly beat him, while the xe om driver ran away.
The duo left the site as Hien lost consciousness. Passers-by rushed the victim to a hospital where he died soon later from brain injuries.
Bang and Tong gave themselves up to police one week later.
The duo were sentenced to 12 and four years respectively last November by the Tan Phu District’s court.
After they appealed the verdicts, the HCMC People’s Court ordered a fresh investigation and a retrial.
Prosecutors said in the first indictment that Bang owned a parking lot that also functioned as a police checkpoint.
The place was where the police officers pulled over and confiscated Hien's bike.
Bang's lot also served as a holding space for vehicles that were impounded by traffic police.
According to Bang, he beat Hien, because he felt offended when seeing the way Hien treated the officers, adding that he then also felt upset about some family matters, so he took it out on the victim.
There have been allegations that the brutal attack was ordered by some traffic officers, but no officers have been investigated. 

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