2 Vietnam cops jailed for stealing prostitutes’ money

By Thai Son - Hoang Anh, Thanh Nien News

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Three people, including two dismissed police officers, stood a trial in the northern province of Lang Son on February 27 for robbing prostitutes and bus drivers / PHOTO COURTESY OF TIEN PHONG
Two dismissed cops in the northern mountainous province of Lang Son got increased jail terms for robbing prostitutes and bus drivers despite claims that they were set up.
Hoang Cong Truong, 26, and Trieu Van Hieu, 30, were sentenced to 30 and 24 months in prison, respectively, for “depriving others of their properties” at a trial held by the Lang Son Town People’s Court on Thursday.
Hua Viet Tu, 31, a local resident, was jailed for 18 months on the same charges.
The trial was held after the province’s appeals court voided the first trial’s verdicts on the case in September last year, saying that they contained mistakes.
The first trial in March that same year acquitted Hieu and jailed Truong and Tu each for 12 months.
Nguy Ngoc Hung, 32, another dismissed cop, got a 12-month suspended sentence.
The appeal canceled all the verdicts, except that of Hung, who had completed his sentence and attended the latest trial as an involved person.
At the latest trial, the defendants were found guilty of stealing a total of 2.5 maces of gold (or about VND11 million (US$514) at that time) and VND9.3 million ($435) from two sex workers and four bus drivers from March to April in 2012.
Prosecutors said the cops, who were then working with the Lang Son Town police division, asked Tu to call prostitutes to a hotel, which they raided later and demanded the prostitutes pay money to be freed.
They used the same tricks with the bus drivers by asking Tu to get them to gamble.
The court ordered the defendants to pay VND16 million ($748) in compensation to their victims.
During the last trial, Truong and Hieu claimed that they were framed by officers and leaders at the Lang Son Province Department of Police’s division for social crimes (PC45).
They said the PC45 officers wanted to defame one of their leaders because they believed that he would likely run for the position of deputy chief of the provincial police department.
They claimed that the prostitutes and bus drivers worked for the officers.
Hung also backed his former colleagues’ claims, saying that he would file an appeal.
However, the former cops failed to present any evidence to substantiate their claims.
An unnamed leader of Lang Son Town police division was quoted by Tien Phong (Pioneer) newspaper as saying that the claims were fabricated.
Colonel Bui Dien, who was head of PC45 during the case’s investigation, said the probe was “objective” and “lawful.”

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