Brazen conman-cop charged with fraud in Vietnam

By Phuong Ha, Thanh Nien News

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A Vietnamese traffic cop writes a ticket on the street. Photo: Bui Truong/Vietnam News Agency A Vietnamese traffic cop writes a ticket on the street. Photo: Bui Truong/Vietnam News Agency

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Prosecutors in the southern province of Tien Giang have charged a conman for posing as a traffic police captain in a series of bold and elaborate swindles, many of which targeted real police.
According to the indictment released Wednesday, Bui Anh Tuan, 30, asked a man named Pha in Ho Chi Minh City to buy him a traffic police uniform and captain's epaulets in 2013.
He wore the uniform on the street almost every day. Some days he introduced himself as a deputy team leader of the Ho Chi Minh City Traffic Police; on others he posed as the head of the Tien Giang Police.
Late last year, Tuan told a Tien Giang police officer that he was the deputy head of the Binh Thanh District Traffic Police in HCMC and the nephew of the head of the provincial party unit.
The gullible officer latter to agree to give him VND25 million (US$1,175), believing that Tuan would use the money to secure his siblings jobs at two provincial hospitals.
Instead, he blew the money in HCMC, where he cheated more cops.
When a group of actual traffic police pulled him over for a traffic violation, he introduced himself as a colleague and invited them out to coffee.
After several meetings at a café, Tuan asked to borrow their money.
Two of the cops leant Tuan a total of VND20 million ($940) and never saw or heard from him again.
This past April, in Tien Giang, Tuan met a civilian named T.V.H. during a night out drinking.
Tuan falsely claimed to be an insider with many police connections and offered to help H. arrange police jobs for his nephew for VND114 million ($5,350).
Tuan disappeared after receiving the money, but was arrested, soon after the incident, on July 12 based on victim reports.
Vietnamese people believe personal relationships are the best qualification for government jobs, according to national surveys.
During the Vietnam Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) released in July of last year, half of the nearly 14,000 respondents said having relationships with those in power is an important prerequisite to applying for jobs in government, law enforcement and education.
Without personal connections, most people said money was their best option.
Tuan told the police that he also used his cop ruse to attract local women.
At one point, he seduced a 21 year-old HCMC girl and pawned her laptop and cell phone for more than VND100 million ($4,700).

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