Ho Chi Minh City investigators deny traffic cops caused motorcyclist death

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Ho Chi Minh City police have denied accusations by the brother of a deceased young man that he was fatally assaulted by District 11 traffic police officers on March 4.

Police said Luu Van Thao, who was on a motorbike, had lost control and crashed to his death.

On March 9 Senior Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Hoai Phong of the Police Department said an investigation had found that the accused traffic cops did not Thao him with batons as alleged.

Thao's brother Luu Van Hien had claimed that his 20-year-old brother was on the way home from a friend's birthday party at around 3 a.m. when he was hit and brought down by some local traffic policemen near the Cay Go roundabout.

The policemen then left Thao unconscious on the street and he was taken to the hospital by some local residents, Lao Dong newspaper quoted Hien as saying. Hien was not at the scene of the incident.

Thao succumbed to his injuries two days later.

Autopsy results found Thao died of multiple injuries, including a severed backbone and swollen intestine.

There was no sign he had been beaten with batons, Phong said, adding that the victim's father witnessed the scene examination and did not make any complaint.

The Police Department had instructed the Traffic Police Division to carry out an investigation following Hien's complaint.

Investigators said Major Nguyen Van Dan from the Phu Lam traffic police station was leading a squad of officers to prevent street racing at the roundabout.

Thao was speeding without a helmet from Minh Phung Street towards Hong Bang Street and in the wrong direction when he noticed the police squad.

He lost control, hit the center median, and crashed, according to the police.

Dan pulled a truck over and ordered the driver to take Thao and his two relatives, who were also coming with him from the party, to hospital, the police said.

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