2 traffic cops face bribery charges in central Vietnam

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Investigators from the Ministry of Public Security have proposed bribery charges against two traffic cops and their accomplice in the central province of Thanh Hoa, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported Thursday.

Le Hong Duan, 37, and Nguyen Thanh Hai, 27, from Thanh Hoa police's traffic division have been charged with demanding and accepting VND5 million (US$238) in bribes from truck owner Ho Tan Phuong and truck driver Nguyen Xuan Tinh on July 31 of last year.

Nguyen Van Doi, who lives next door to the police checkpoint on the National Road 1A, faces the same charges for his role in enabling the bribery scam.

Investigators said since Phuong and Tinh did not have enough money to pay the cops, Doi loaned them the VND5 million at an interest rate VND500,000 per day. Doi held onto the truck's documents as collateral against the loan. 

According to investigators, while they had enough evidence to seek charges of "giving bribes" against Phuong and Tinh, they did not do so, because the men had exposed the bribery to the media and cooperated with the police investigation.

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Declining to bring the two men up on charges encourages people who "accidentally" commit crimes to join hands with related agencies to stop corruption, Tuoi Tre quoted the investigators' conclusion as saying.

Phuong and Tinh allowed Tuoi Tre reporter Nguyen Van Khuong to ride with them in the truck in order to document the cops' actions, which were later reported in a series of articles that exposed corruption among traffic officers along highways, the newspaper said.

Khuong, 39, is now facing bribery charges stemming from a different case. Ho Chi Minh City's prosecutors have charged him with bribing a local police officer to get back a motorbike seized for illegal street racing.

The reporter, however, has claimed that it was a sting operation expose traffic police corruption.

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