Cops accused of beating up drunken man in northern Vietnam

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Police in the northern Vietnamese city of Hai Phong will investigate the alleged torture of a man by police officers and militiamen Tuesday, a charge the accused deny.

Pham Duy Dien, a spokesman for the Hai Phong police, made the announcement Wednesday at a meeting with the media after Hoang Van Lo, 64, filed a complaint that his son, Hoang Van Hau, 31, was brutally assaulted.

According to the complaint, at around 10 p.m. Tuesday he heard that Hau was being assaulted on the street.

When he reached the spot, he saw two men in police uniforms and two others in militia uniforms beating up his son. They then dragged Hau along the street to the Tan Thanh Ward police station.

At the station, the beating continued despite the pleas of Lo and his elder son, Hoang Van Huan. They also pleaded with the station bosses, but were ignored

The next morning the family asked to take Hau to the hospital, but the police refused and Hau was not released until late that night.

Dr Dang Viet Son of the Viet Tiep General Hospital said Hau was hospitalized with a headache and hip pain, adding he suffers from brain trauma, injuries to the hip bones, blood clotting in his face, and injuries on his right cheek and ear.

Speaking to Thanh Nien, Hau said that on Tuesday night, after getting drunk at a party, he went home, took two knives, and left again.

Tuoi Tre newspaper quoted him as saying he took the knives because he had earlier got into an argument with some people. He also admitted he was drunkenly ranting on the street and brandishing the knives when the officers and militiamen came and attacked him with clubs and tasers.

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He lost consciousness and woke up later to find that he was naked and handcuffed to a window.

Senior Lieutenant Nguyen Anh Tuan, one of the two officers who confronted Hau, said a drunk Hau had abused them, so one of the officers pointed his club at his face and ordered him to stop.

But Hau refused and tried to slash Second Lieutenant Nguyen Kim Hai with a knife, so Tuan had to overpower him and take away the weapon.

"Hau resisted and so got injured," Tuan said. "He was not beaten at the police station."

Major Ngo Thanh Tuan, chief of the Tan Thanh police division, also denied the accusation that police stripped Hau, claiming he did it himself.

Asked why the police refused to let Hau's family take him to hospital, he said it was because they were short-handed and had no one to accompany him to the hospital.

On the other hand, Tuan said there was no need to take him to the hospital because the injuries had been caused by the man himself and did not look serious.

The case is being investigated.

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