Ex-cop jailed for fatal blow

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A former lieutenant at a northern Vietnamese province was convicted of killing a 21-year-old man who had been arrested for failing to wear a motorbike helmet.

The Bac Giang Provincial People's Court sentenced Nguyen The Nghiep, 26, to the maximum jail term for his crime.

The case began on July 23, 2010 when Nguyen Van Khuong of Viet Yen District was driving around with his girlfriend, Pham Thi Ngoan. Several traffic police pulled Khuong over as he drove down a road in Tan Yen District.

According to the indictment, Khuong was taken to the district police station because he failed to present his motorbike's registration card.

After the young man refused to sign a release admitting to his violation and acknowledging the temporary seizure of the bike, Lieutenant Nghiep, who had been assigned to handle the case, ordered Khuong into his office.

When Khuong was reluctant to follow, Nghiep forced him to come in and pushed him into a chair. The indictment states the young man attempted to rise out of the chair causing the lieutenant to strike him in the head.

Nghiep then left the room to obtain another official form.

At that time, another police official entered Nghiep's office and discovered that Khuong was unconscious.

The young man was taken to the Tan Yen General Hospital where doctors pronounced him dead.

According to the autopsy examination results released by the Ministry of Public Security, Khuong died from brain trauma and hemorrhaging in his cerebral membrane.

Before the ministry's announcing the results, Khuong's family on July 25 took his coffin to the Bac Giang People's Committee, the provincial government, to ask for clarification as to the circumstances of his death.

This action attracted a crowd to the area. Ten people were arrested and accused of "causing a public disturbance" and "opposing government agents."

Nghiep was dismissed from the police force and detained last August pending investigation into claims that he had "caused wrongful death in the commission of his official duties."

The crime carries a sentence of between two and seven years under Vietnam's Penal Codes.

According to the verdict issued Tuesday, Nghiep is barred from serving in the police force for two years after completing his seven-year jail term.

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