Lawyer arrested for illegally keeping guns in southern Vietnam

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Police in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang have arrested a lawyer allegedly found keeping weapons, including three long guns, in his car, without licenses.

Le Nguyen Dan, a 46-year-old member of the Bar Association in the southern province of Binh Phuoc, was arrested on Tuesday after police discovered two air guns and one hunting rifle, along with eight bullets and a taser on his car.

He was driving along National Road 50 in My Tho Town, when police pulled him over and detected the smell of alcohol.

According to police, Dan, who failed to present his driver's license, said he bought the weapons over many years and used them for hunting.

He presented a certificate issued by Hoang Kiem Vinh, chairman of the Binh Phuoc Bar Association in 2005, stating that he was allowed to use and keep an RG brand gun indefinitely.

The lawyer also presented police another certificate which said he was allowed to keep and use a taser, police said, adding that the certificate was issued in 2005 by Nguyen Tan Duong, former chairman of the Binh Phuoc Jurist Association.

However, speaking to Tuoi Tre, Vinh said that the gun certificate was not related to any of the three guns police confiscated from Dan's car.

It was, in fact, for one of the seven asphyxiant gas guns which Binh Phuoc police granted to the association in September 10, 2009 and were only valid for three years, he said.

All the guns had already been confiscated, he was quoted as saying. 

"The guns and the taser Tien Giang police confiscated from Dan's car are unrelated to the bar association and myself," Vinh said, stressing that it was Dan's personal matter and he would have to be held accountable under the law.

The association would also consider punishing the lawyer, he said.

Meanwhile, Bui Quang Phung, director of Binh Phuoc Justice Department and current chairman of the jurist association, said no one issued him a taser or related documents when he took office.

According to Tuoi Tre, Dan previously worked at Tien Giang's office of prosecutors, but was punished for illegally using guns. He later quit the job and became a lawyer with the Binh Phuoc Bar Association in March, 2005. 

Dan said he was also once punished for illegally keeping and using weapons by police in Binh Chanh District in Ho Chi Minh City.

Police are investigating.

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