Seven officers and ten militias in Vietnam's southern province of Binh Duong have been sacked after a member of the local volunteer anti-crime task force was attacked in June.
Under the decision signed by An Binh Ward's People's Committee, 16 people were asked to resign since August 15, while the other was suspended, pending for a decision to sack him as well.
The decision came about two months after Nguyen Tang Tien, a member of An Binh Ward's Anti-crime Group in Di An Town was slashed by four masked men on July 27 with knives.
Tien and his team helped police bust several cases of theft by Vu Duc Tuan's gang and it was speculated revenge was the motive of the assault.
Since the attack, suspicions of police's relation to the gang has risen, as theft suspects were released due to "lack of evidence". Tuan was also allegedly threatening the anti-crime group, saying that none of his members would be ever jailed because he could bail them out in a moment.
So far Tuan has been taken into custody together with 18 others for investigations into the case, a source told Thanh Nien.
However, in the decision to sack the militia and officers, An Binh Ward's authorities didn't state the reasons, according to Le Thanh Hoang, one of the officers.
Nguyen Van Phan, former chief of the militia team in An Binh Ward, said they had asked authorities about the reasons many times, but they didn't say anything
According to the militia, since the attack, authorities haven't ordered any investigation into the relation between his team and Tuan's gang.
"Now we feel worried, because we think that we are suspected of being related to Tuan's gang, or other bad people," Phan said.
Meanwhile, in an interview with Thanh Nien Sunday, Nguyen Ngoc An, chairman of An Binh's People's Committee, said the militias were sacked because there were "not good public opinions" about the force, adding that they temporarily dissolved it and would consider resuming it next month.
As for the officers, An said they were previously employed as semi-official policemen by An Binh Commune, which was upgraded to a ward on January 13. Under regulations, a ward only allows official officers, and seven failed to meet requirements, so they had to quit, he said.
However, the ward's authorities will assign them to work at local neighborhoods later, according to the chairman.
Asked why the reasons weren't mentioned in the writing decisions, An said because they were issued suddenly.
What the ward's authorities did were in accordance with laws and as ordered by higher-ups, he added.