Family requests new probe into woman's death at drinking party

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The family of a woman who drowned to death during a party attended by two officials in the southern province of Long An has requested a new investigation into her death, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported on October 25.

The newspaper quoted an unnamed source as saying that prosecutors in Tan Tru district have accepted the request of Dinh Tan Phuoc, whose 20-year-old daughter Dinh Thi Kim Phuong died on August 20.

Last month local police concluded that Phuong's death was an accident.

They said that on the day of the alleged accident, Phuong, together with a dozen other people, including Nguyen Kim Doan, then chief of Can Giuoc District prosecutors' office, and his deputy Nguyen Huong Giang, were attending a drinking party on a barge on the Vam Co River.

After a few rounds, some of the partygoers went swimming in the river. Phuong, who didn't join them because she couldn't swim, stayed on the barge, and fell into the river accidentally.

However, in the Tuoi Tre report, Phuoc said some locals who were near the accident's site heard people joke and his daughter scream for help, which made him suspect that she was dragged into the river against her will.

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Following the accident, both Doan and Giang were dismissed from their posts and received warnings from the provincial Party Unit's committee for participating in "unhealthy recreational activities," and violating the code of conduct prescribed for state employees and Party members.

Meanwhile, Le Van Pho, one of the partygoers, was arrested on September 22 for allegedly cheating a woman out of VND460 million ($22,083) after promising to help her evade a jail term.

Police are investigating allegations that Pho is a member of a ring that help suspects evade jail terms by bribing officials.

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