The police department of Soc Trang Province is now under public scrutiny after it was found paying for luxury cars with money collected from traffic fines, which normally can only be used to fund public projects.
According to media reports, residents in the Mekong Delta province have recently noticed that four Lexus cars with special government license plates usually hit the roads.
Nguyen Phuc Thao, former police chief of the province, confirmed with the press that he first proposed the purchase of the cars while he was in office in 2009.
The proposal was approved by the Ministry of Public Security. In 2011, Thao left the office and the cars were bought later.
He said the cars cost around VND6 billion (US$268,000), and the money came from the province’s traffic fine revenue.
According to Ministry of Finance regulations, money earned from traffic fines must be spent to invest in infrastructure projects to ensure traffic order and safety. It can be used to cover the operational costs of police departments.
A government decision also states that a car bought using public funds must not cost more than VND1.1 billion ($49,225).