The Hanoi police have denied allegations that an officer was part of a group that last week attacked two lawyers representing the family of a teenager who had died in police custody last month.
They identified eight men who attacked the lawyers – seven of them farmers from Chuong My District – at a press conference Tuesday.
At around 2 p.m. on November 3 the lawyers, Le Van Luan, 30, and Tran Thu Nam, 39, left the house of Do Thi Mai, the mother of 17-year-old Do Dang Du, who was allegedly beaten to death by a cellmate at a Hanoi detention center.
The police claimed Du was killed by Vu Van Binh, who shared a room with him in a section for underage suspects at Detention Center No. 3 in Chuong My District. But his family believed he had been tortured at the center.
The lawyers met Du's family in Chuong My's Dong Phuong Yen Commune to discuss the case.
When they came out at 3:30 p.m. and drove off in a car, eight masked men on motorbikes stopped the vehicle and began to attack them.
The lawyers stopped the car and tried to flee on foot, but the attackers chased after them and assaulted them.
The two suffered facial injuries.
Luan said his cell phone fell on the ground, and one of the attackers took it with him when the group left.
The lawyers told the media they believed one of the attackers was a local police officer.
The police said at the media conference in Hanoi Tuesday that an officer of Dong Phuong Yen Commune police named Nguyen Van Cuu had accidentally passed by before the attack and did not join the goons.
They claimed the eight men, aged 21-38, attacked because they were angry that the lawyers drove too fast and kicked up dust while driving past them at noon.
The Hanoi police also denied the accusation that one of the men had taken Luan's mobile phone.
They said investigations are continuing, and promised to throw the book at the eight men, including 38-year-old Nguyen Gia Tu, who is working at Dong Phuong Yen Commune credit fund.