Le Van Thanh, 20, at a Ho Chi Minh City police station. Police say Thanh led a gang of four police impostors who extorted money from travelers. Photo by Ngoc Tho
Police in Ho Chi Minh City arrested four men early on Monday for posing as police and extorting money from drivers.
The four were found with fake police cards, a walkie-talkie, a pair of handcuffs and a baton.
Officers in Phu Nhuan District approached the gang during a routine patrol after seeing them stop a motorist.
One member of the group produced a police ID bearing the named Le Van Thanh and claimed he worked for a special Ho Chi Minh City street crime unit.
Luckily the officers smelled a rat.
Genuine police IDs always carry the name of an officer's unit. The four were brought to a nearby station.
Thanh, the 20-year-old ring leader, said they stopped drivers who violated traffic rules and demanded that each pay VND100,000-200,000.
They gang claimed they made VND900,000 by stopping seven people on Sunday night prior to their arrest.
Nguyen Thach Bach, a Phu Nhuan police officer, told Tuoi Tre the money was small and the victims must have believed that Thanh and his accomplices were real cops because no one has filed a report.
Vietnamese traffic cops are notorious for accepting bribes from traffic violators who are supposed to receive a written citation and later pay their fines at a treasury office.
The investigation remains underway.