An ethnic minority resident of the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong was beaten up by police officers while he was about to return a lost wallet to another man, a Tuoi Tre (Youth) report said Wednesday.
The report said Nong Van Thanh of Tan Van Commune, Lam Ha District, belonging to the Nung minority community, was hospitalized March 23 with multiple injuries on his back, chest and hips.
Thanh told the paper that in the morning of March 22, he was doing farm work for a relative in Phu Hoi Commune when a bus stopped nearby for a while. A young man came to him with a wallet in his hand, saying he had found it on the street.
The man said there were papers in the wallet belonging to a Tu Phuoc Vinh, a resident of Phu Hoi.
When Thanh asked the man to give him the wallet so that he could return it to Vinh, the man demanded payment of VND3 million.
When Thanh said he did not have money, the man threw the wallet on the ground and left. Thanh picked it up and called Vinh, and asked him to come and collect the wallet.
Half an hour later, Vinh arrived with two police officers. When Vinh saw Thanh with the wallet in his hands, he suddenly shouted: "Here is the robber's accomplice!"
The two officers immediately handcuffed Thanh as well as his wife Nguyen Thi Lan, who tried to stop them. They released her soon after.
Thanh was then taken to the commune police's station where he was beaten up by the officers who accused him of being the thief.
At around 3 p.m., he was released after a police officer from Tan Van Commune, where Thanh lives, came to bail him out.
According to Le Xuan Mai, police chief of Phu Hoi Commune, Nguyen Van Tuyen and Nguyen Thanh Hai, the two officers who beat Thanh up, have been reprimanded.
The officers have not yet apologized Thanh.
Many readers have expressed outrage over the police officers' behavior, calling it reckless. Several said if cops behaved like this, it would be hard for ordinary citizens to be honest persons in the society.
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