HCMC punishes firemen for demanding bribes from company

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Fire police officers Le Thanh Binh (L) and Nguyen Huy Khang during a discussion with a local company, in which the two firemen allegedly demanded bribes. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre Fire police officers Le Thanh Binh (L) and Nguyen Huy Khang during a discussion with a local company, in which the two firemen allegedly demanded bribes. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre

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Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday said they have demoted a police officer of Tan Binh District's fire department for demanding bribes from a local company. 
Lieutenant Le Thanh Binh has been reduced to the rank of sub-lieutenant, local media reported. 
Binh and his fellow officer, sub-lieutenant Nguyen Huy Khang, will be reassigned to other tasks in their office.
The punitive reactions came after Do Minh Tam, a local businessman sent a complaint to Tuoi Tre Newspaper accusing the officers of soliciting bribes. 
Tam said they had visited his company several times since early November to check its fire safety plan. The officers claimed that the plan was about to expire and they could have it renewed for a "service fee" of around US$250, or less than half of a possible cash fine.
Binh added that although every company must go through compulsory fire safety training, he would skip this step to help for the company "cut the unnecessary expense." 
The businessman also provided photos and recordings as proof. 

Local authorities have apologized to him for the firemen's "inappropriate behaviors." 

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