4 accused of fatally beating fellow prisoner in Vietnam police cell

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Police in Ca Mau Province in the Mekong Delta Wednesday detained four men for allegedly beating a fellow prisoner to death in a police cell the previous night.

Duong Tan Thuong, 28, of neighboring Kien Giang Province, was placed in the cell in Thoi Binh District for injuring a person in a fight.

It already held Luong Van Canh, 30, Luong Van Giang, 28, Bui Van Cong, 24, and Bui Chi Linh, 19, who said they beat him for not showing them respect.

Thuong was rushed to hospital but died on the way at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

His family, called to take his body home, instead left it that night at the district People's Committee office, and demanded compensation of VND200 million (US$9,500) and a written admission that the district police are to blame for the death.

Huynh Quoc Hoang, the chairman of the committee, said more than 10 family members gathered in front of the office, burning incense sticks and beating drums.

More joined them Wednesday morning and vandalized the office.

Hoang quoted Ho Thi Trinh, the mother of the dead man, as saying that the family "will only leave when the police admit that they beat him to death."

The family finally agreed to leave at 10 p.m. Wednesday when the corpse began to decompose and reek. Authorities provided them transportation and some money.

Earlier this month a court in Binh Phuoc Province near Ho Chi Minh City handed 28 people jail terms of up to four years for protesting at a police station after a relative died in custody last October.

They were found guilty of causing public disorder and opposing officials on duty.

However, no official statement has been made about the cause of the man's death.

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