Man gets 12 years in decade-long murder case that tests Vietnam's justice system

By Ha An, Thanh Nien News

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Ly Nguyen Chung stands trial on July 23, 2015. Photo: Ha An Ly Nguyen Chung stands trial on July 23, 2015. Photo: Ha An

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A Bac Giang court has sentenced a 27-year-old man to 12 years in prison for murdering a woman in 2003 in a high-profile case that had wrongfully sent another man to jail for more than 10 years.
The Bac Giang People’s Court on Thursday handed down the jail term against Ly Nguyen Chung. It comprised 10 years for murder and 2 years for robbery.
According to the verdict, on August 15, 2013, Chung, then 15, went to Nguyen Thi Hoan’s shop in Bac Giang’s Viet Yen District to buy shampoo.
After seeing her money box, he suddenly took out a knife and stabbed the woman.
He continued to stab her several times, hit her head with empty beer bottles, and suffocated her with a cushion before stealing her two gold rings, the court heard.
A day later, he took a bus to Lang Son Province before moving to the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak.
He turned himself in on October 25, 2013.
The court also ordered Chung’s father, Ly Van Chuc, to pay more than VND100 million (US$4,590) as compensation to Hoan’s family.
Nguyen Thanh Chan cried during his reunion with his family in October 2013 after serving more than ten years for a crime he did not commit. Photo: Ha An.
Chuc is responsible for the payment because Chung was only 15 when he committed the crime, the court said.
During investigation, judicial agencies in Bac Giang had another man wrongfully convicted for the murder.
Nguyen Thanh Chan, who spent more than 10 years in jail, was released in 2013 after Chung’s stepmother revealed that he was the killer. 
The case has made headlines as one of the major miscarriages of justice in Vietnam.
Several relevant officials have been dismissed or received disciplinary measures.
Chan, 58, had demanded a total of VND10 billion ($471,000) for the damages caused by his 3,699 days in jail and the following 83 days he spent waiting for his name to be cleared.
The Supreme People’s Court has said it will reward him VND7.2 billion ($360,000).

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