Former officer faces torture charges in central Vietnam

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Investigators from the Vietnamese prosecutor's office Monday proposed to charge a former police officer in the central province of Khanh Hoa with torture.

According to the conclusion of an investigation by inspectors from the People's Supreme Court, Lang Thanh Dung, then an officer in charge of social order at Nha Trang Town's police division, beat two local xe om drivers when interrogating them about fraud in July.

At the time Dung was investigating a case in which two tourists were allegedly cheated out of VND7 million (US$333) by a xe om driver and an employee at a local massage service.

On July 26, the former officer and his colleagues arrested Nguyen Truong Vu, and Truong Chi Binh, two local xe om drivers for the investigation.

At the station of Nha Trang police division, Dung handcuffed Binh to a chair, beat and slapped his face many times during the interrogation, investigators said. Binh was released after he kept denying the allegations.

The former officer also slapped and beat Vu with a baton, according to investigators. He even encouraged an apprentice to beat Dung, saying that if they didn't act tough, he wouldn't admit the crime.

Vu wasn't released until early the next morning after having his belongings, including a motorbike and a mobile phone, confiscated, investigators said.

Later that day the xe om driver was hospitalized due to injuries and received treatment at Khanh Hoa Province's General Hospital until August 1.

Investigators said so far Dung has paid VND27 million (US$1,285) in compensation to Vu.

Meanwhile, investigators have proposed leaders of Khanh Hoa's police division punish several other related officials.

In August, investigators from the People's Supreme Procuracy also pressed the same charges against another two former officers from Khanh Hoa's police division.

Tran Ba Tuan and Nguyen Dinh Quyet are being investigated for beating up Tran Thi Lan, a housekeeper of a Nha Trang resident, while interrogating her about the loss of more than US$2,000 in cash at her boss's house last November.

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