'Fist happy' Delta police beat up innocent residents

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Three people in the Mekong Delta's Hau Giang Province were handcuffed and beaten by the police after they were allegedly mistaken as members of a prostitution ring, VnExpress reported Tuesday.


Truong Thi Thu Van and her brothers Truong Tan Tai and Truong Tan Phuoc were released the same day by the police on Thursday night last week after the police found out they had caught the wrong people.


Tai was handcuffed and beaten at a gas station on the street while picking up his niece as plainclothes police of Chau Thanh District accused him of cheating the girl to take her to some brothel, Bui Hoang Bao, director of Hau Giang police said on Monday.


Phuoc and Van, then driving on a different street to pick Phuoc's daughter, were also arrested by other district police officers.


Tai said they continued to be beaten at the Long Thanh commune police station.


"They interrogated us until nearly midnight, when someone called and told them that they had caught the wrong persons.


"Later, a man more than 50 years old approached, looked at me and said it's just a mistake. So they let us go and left in a four-seat car," he said.


Trang Trung Hieu, head of Long Thanh commune police, said a group of police officers had borrowed his room to question the three people but didn't say what the questioning was about.


"I saw Van and her brothers had been beaten [before arriving at the police station], but I thought they had been taken care of by some gangsters (and were brought to the police station for investigation). I didn't know that was the police," Hieu said.


Bao said investigators from Chau Thanh district police were  inexperienced. "The police officers thought that the residents were real criminals, so they used some martial arts they learnt to defend themselves when the residents reacted." 


Hau Giang police have asked the district administration to punish the police officers involved and publicly apologize to the residents.


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