A Ho Chi Minh City court on Friday sentenced a journalist to four years in jail for bribery.
The journalist continued to maintain the bribes were paid as part of an undercover investigation into corruption within the city's traffic police.
The court found that Nguyen Van Khuong, a 39 year-old reporter at Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper who wrote under the name Hoang Khuong, bribed Huynh Minh Duc, 36, a former Binh Thanh District traffic police officer, to recover a motorbike seized during an illegal street race.
Duc was sentenced to five years imprisonment for accepting bribes.
According to the indictment, Duc accepted VND3 million from Tran Anh Tuan, the owner of a tractor trailer involved in an accident, in exchange for the truck's release.
He also accepted VND15 million from Khuong in exchange for the release of a confiscated motorbike belonging to Tran Minh Hoa, a friend of Khuong's brother-in-law Nguyen Duc Dong Anh.
Tuan, Hoa and Anh received one, five and four years, respectively, on Friday.
Duc was arrested last November after Khuong exposed him for taking bribes in stories published in Tuoi Tre in July.
Khuong was arrested two months later, after police concluded that Ton That Hoa, a middle-man (who got two years for "abetting bribery") took money from Tuan and Khuong to pay Duc.
Khuong has insisted he was engaged in an undercover sting designed to gather evidence for his investigation, but the HCMC prosecutors determined that his acts were for personal purposes.
Khuong told the court that his wrongdoing was professional in nature and did not merit criminal punishment.