Another Vietnamese reporter arrested for allegedly taking bribes

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Police in the north-central province of Nghe An have arrested a reporter from Kinh Te Nong Thon (Rural Economy) newspaper for allegedly demanding bribes from a construction company in Hanoi, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported Tuesday.

Colonel Dao Hong Lap, head of Nghe An Police Department's economic crime investigation division (PC46) said Monday his agency caught Le Van Thanh, 33, as he received VND20 million (US$947.6) from Vinland Investment and Construction JSC earlier that day at the Vinh airport.

Thanh was waiting for a flight to Ho Chi Minh City.

Thanh, who uses pseudonym Van Thanh, wrote a series of reports about the poor quality of a street built by Vinland in Nghe An and asked the Hanoi-based company to "act reasonably" or he would write more articles about the case, Lap said.

According to a Cong An Nhan Dan (People's Police) news report, Thanh demanded VND50 million from Vinland.

Le Van Thom, Kinh Te Nong Thon's deputy editor-in-chief, told Tuoi Tre his newspaper published Thanh's two reports (September 3 and 9) about the severe and rapid deterioration of the street running through Thanh Chuong and Do Luong districts after only a year of use.

Thom said the paper had published the second report (at 11:23 a.m.) about 30 minutes before Thanh was arrested.

He said he only learned about Thanh's arrest through news websites, adding that it was surprising to him.

"We will take action after Nghe An Police's investigation concludes," he said.

Last month, officers from Ministry of Public Security and Dong Nai Police arrested Vo Thanh Tung, 31, a reporter with the Phap Luat Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh (Ho Chi Minh City Law) newspaper, for receiving VND50 million from the MTM Club in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Nai.

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He had demanded a total VND200 million from the bar's owner with the promise not to write any more articles detailing its violations.

Tung, who uses pennames Duy Dong and Vo Tung, filed a series of reports exposing violations committed by bars in Dong Nai.

The most heavily exposed was MTM Club, where violations included noise disturbances, drug use and scantily clad women engaged in overtly sexual pole dancing.

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