Police in the northern province of Vinh Phuc have arrested five men suspected of having murdered a local youth whose family has accused the son-in-law of the provincial mayor of being involved in the killing.
The announcement of the arrests and of a confession by the arrestees that the killing was done based on personal conflicts was made after the family of 27-year-old Nguyen Tuan Anh brought his coffin to the center of Vinh Yen Town on Sunday and Monday, demanding an investigation.
The family members said they were frustrated by the lack of response to their accusations that the son-in-law of Phung Quang Hung, chairman of the provincial People's Committee, the local government, was involved in the murder. Hung has denied the accusation.
The police said at a press briefing on Monday that there was no evidence thus far linking the son-in-law, who has not been named, to the murder. There is no information so far on why the family made such an accusation.
The arrestees are Nguyen Van Tinh, Nguyen Van Dinh, Phung Dac Tu and Phung Manh Tuan and Dang Quoc Tu.
Early morning on Sunday, local residents found the body of Anh in a sewer on Vinh Yen Town's Quan Tien Street.
A relative of Anh told news website VietNamNet that the first autopsy concluded that Anh had drowned, but a second one said he did not die because he was drunk and had fallen into the sewer. It said the death was a result of injuries sustained.
The family had agreed to a second autopsy after their second demonstration on Monday. They said the body was bruised in the chest and head, and that some teeth were missing.
At around 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, more than 1,000 people joined the family as they carried Anh's coffin to the area near Vinh Phuc Post Office, demanding a probe, the Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper quoted Phung Tien Bo, director of Vinh Phuc Police Department as saying.
Bo said the demonstration held up the traffic for nearly five hours. He said Anh had had a fight with "a group of people" on Quan Tien Street early morning on March 15 and did not come home. His body was found two days later.
Bo came to the street to instruct his men to persuade Anh's family to take his coffin home and ask the furious crowd to disperse.
Anh's wife, Nguyen Thi Minh Thuong, said it was not a robbery and murder case because Anh's cell phone, silver ring and more than VND1 million in cash were found on his body.
On Monday morning, the family had still placed his coffin near the Quan Tien crossroad.
Later in the day, forensic experts began to examine his body at an empty land lot on Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street.
Meanwhile, Hung, the Vinh Phuc mayor, rejected accusations that his son-in-law was involved in the murder.
"I asked him and his wife and they haven all confirmed that there is no such issue. On that night, my daughter and her husband were sleeping at home. It is fabrication for someone to say that my son-in-law was involved," Dat Viet quoted Hung as saying.
"The victim and my son-in-law have no relationship, they do not know each other," he said.
He said it is "unacceptable" that the false information has affected his family's prestige. He would request relevant authorities to make clear statements and avoid such misunderstandings, Hung said.
Bui Minh Hong, spokesman of the Vinh Phuc People's Committee, said investigators from the Ministry of Public Security are coordinating with the provincial police force in investigating the case further.
"The province's position is that it will hande the case as per the law"¦ no matter who is involved and/or related to any local leader," he said.