Police in the northern city of Hai Phong have taken a local officer into custody for allegedly committing sexual assault against five children since August, a local official said on Tuesday.
Vu Van Quynh, a 23-year-old officer with Tien Lang district's police division, will be investigated on charges of "having indecent acts" with children, Senior Lieutenant-Colonel Pham Duy Dien, chief of Hai Phong police department's office, said.
He has also been dismissed from his post.
According to police, on Saturday a group of local people in Tien Minh Commune handed over Quynh to them after detaining him in a citizen's arrest earlier that day following the accusations of a 15-year-old girl.
They said that day he was standing on the sidewalk of a street when the girl told her father who was driving her home from school that Quynh assaulted her on August 17.
The father then called local people to gather and arrest the officer.
Soon after Quynh's arrest, four other girls' families in Quang Phuc Commune lodged complaints with police accusing him of stopping their daughters' bicycles when they were riding to school on empty streets, and assaulting them. The female victims are between 12 and 16 years old.
Information from police was that Quynh was assigned to work in Tien Lang last June.
Colonel Do Huu Ca, director of Hai Phong police department, was quoted as saying in Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper that the city would handle the case "to guarantee that the investigation would be conducted with impartiality."
Meanwhile, a report on VnExpress Tuesday quoted an alleged 12-year-old victim as saying that around noon on October 25, Quynh stopped her motorbike, and that she quickly ran away because she heard that many girls had been the victims of a serial "rapist."
However, the man chased after her, grabbed her T-shirt and slapped her face until her nose bled as she cried for help.
Afterward he brought her to a grass lawn on the side of the street where the girl managed to escape and run into a nearby ditch, she said, adding that he left upon seeing some students coming near.
The father who initiated the citizen's arrest on Quynh also said the cop had stopped his daughter's bike, and dragged her off the street.
But, he stopped his "indecent acts" and left when Do Van Doan, a local teacher, was approaching, according to the father, who has had to take and pick up his daughter to school every day since the assault.
Speaking to VnExpress, Doan also said he witnessed a man abusing a girl from afar and drove toward the scene, adding that the man fled, leaving the traumatized girl in shock with her clothes torn.