Kim Quoc Hoa, the former editor-in-chief of Nguoi Cao Tuoi newspaper, is escorted to his former office to witness a search by the police on Tuesday. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre
Vietnamese police on Tuesday launched an investigation into the former editor-in-chief of a local newspaper, following allegations that it has slandered many people and revealed some state secrets in several reports.
Police on the same day also searched the residence and former office of Kim Quoc Hoa, 70. He was granted bail.
He was already dismissed from his post as editor-in-chief of the Hanoi-based Nguoi Cao Tuoi (The Elderly) in March, after the Ministry of Information and Communications announced results of a two-month inspection at the newspaper.
According to the ministry, 11 articles published by the newspaper between 2013 and 2014 had "distorted facts and slandered individuals and organizations."
It also said that some of the information revealed in the articles were "national secrets".
Based on the results of inspection, the ministry shut down the newspaper's website www.nguoicaotuoi.org.vn, saying it also violated regulations on licensing and advertising.
It also revoked Hoa’s press card.
The ministry requested the Ministry of Public Security to take necessary actions against the newspaper.
On February 9, the police launched an investigation into the newspaper.
Nguoi Cao Tuoi is a small newspaper but it has attracted a growing readership in the last few years, after a series of reports on bribery and corruption that exposed some high-profile officials.
The most notorious case involved Tran Van Truyen, former head of the Government Inspectorate, which serves as the government's anti-corruption unit.
The reports said Truyen and his family possessed a large pool of assets including huge villas in Ben Tre Province and Ho Chi Minh City, prompting top inspectors of the Communist Party to investigate him.
The inspectors found that Truyen had illicitly accrued a lot of real estate holdings.
Local governments in Vietnam decided to seize a house and a plot of military land from him later.