Mekong Delta Party official found using luxury cars smuggled from Cambodia

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Police in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang last Friday confiscated two illegally imported luxury cars being used by a local Party official.

The cars were smuggled from Cambodia, police said.

Cao Van The, Party secretary of Binh Ninh Commune, Cho Gao District, had a Toyota RAV4 and a Lexus taken from him after he failed to provide documentation on the legitimacy of the cars, except for certificates showing the cars were registered in Cambodia.

The case was exposed after a Thanh Nien reporter saw the Toyota RAV4 parked in front of the office of Binh Ninh Commune People's Committee with a Cambodia number plate and asked The about the origin of the car.

The told the reporter that a pig trader named Len gave him the car in August 2010 and a Lexus, which he left at home, in late 2011 as mortgage for a VND700 million (US$33,629) debt.

"Len bought pigs from me and owed me the money. I don't know anything about the origin of the cars," he said.

However, he could not show any papers to prove Len owed him the money and mortgaged the cars.

After the reporter asked him why he dared to use cars with no legal documentation, The said he was told by a provincial traffic police official that he can use the cars.

He said he always drove the cars slowly and had never been stopped by traffic police.

The reporter found that Nguyen Tan Thach, police chief of Binh Ninh Commune, usually drove The to work in the smuggled cars.

Local residents said they noticed The had been using the illegally imported cars for the last two years.

After the reporter reported the case to the provincial police on Friday, Nguyen Viet Hung, deputy chief of Tien Giang Province Police Department, asked the police in Cho Gao District to confiscate the cars for investigation. 

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