Another arrested in Vietnam journalist's accused bribery

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Police in Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday arrested another person involved in the case of a journalist who was accused of bribing a former officer while writing articles exposing police corruption.

Nguyen Duc Dong Anh, brother-in-law of Nguyen Van Khuong, a Tuoi Tre journalist, was taken into four-month custody to be investigated on charges of giving bribes.

One day before, Khuong, 39, was also arrested on the same charges.

According to police's initial findings, in June 2011, Anh, 22, asked Khuong to help his friend, Tran Minh Hoa, to take his bike out of police custody in Binh Thanh District.

Hoa had his bike confiscated on April 23 for driving carelessly and was asked to review his actions in public, in addition to paying fines before getting the bike back. But Hoa wanted the bike back without having to face the public review.

Khuong agreed to help Hoa, and asked Ton That Hoa, director of Duy Nguyen Co., for help, police said. Hoa was then also helping Tran Anh Tuan, owner of a trailer truck seized after causing an accident, to get his truck back.

On June 25, Hoa met with Huynh Minh Duc, former officer of Binh Thanh District's traffic police division, at a local coffee shop, where he paid Duc VND3 million (US$142) to get Tuan's truck released before the regulated time and without having the truck's driver's license confiscated.

Hoa then called Khuong to meet about the bike of Anh's friend, according to police.

Khuong posed as Hoa's driver, named Hung, asking Duc to help get the bike out of custody sooner than regulated and without Hoa having his actions reviewed in public.

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The former officer agreed and was paid VND15 million ($713), which Anh claimed was the money of Hoa.

On July 3, the bike was discharged. But before giving the bike to Hoa, Khuong asked Anh to pose as Hoa for him to take photos, police said.

One week later, on July 10, the photos with Khuong's report on the bribery were published in Tuoi Tre. Previously, on July 5, the newspaper also published another article by Khuong exposing the bribery between Duc and Tuan.

Khuong's articles prompted local police to launch investigations, and later arrested Duc in November. Hoa was taken in on charges of "brokering bribes", while Tuan was let free while being investigated on charges of "giving bribes."

Before being arrested, Khuong, who is famous for his articles on traffic police corruption under the pen name Hoang Khuong, was suspended from his work, according to a notice from Tuoi Tre December 3.

The newspaper said the suspension was in response to HCMC police division's proposal to withdraw Khuong's journalist license and review his work sent on November 28.

However, on Tuesday, Tuoi Tre said it has invited lawyer Phan Trung Hoai to act as Khuong's attorney. Hoai will propose Khuong be let free during the investigations due to his health condition and family circumstance.

It his report to the newspaper's board of editors, Khuong admitted that when writing the article, he had made professional mistakes by interfering too much in bribing Duc to collect evidence.

The case is being investigated.

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