Suspect hospitalized in Vietnam, cops accused of severe beating

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Police in the northern city of Hai Phong have denied accusations that they beat a man so severely that he had to be hospitalized with brain injuries.


On Tuesday Pham Ngoc Khanh, 29, recovered after emergency treatment at Viet Tiep Hospital, and told Tien Phong (Pioneer) newspaper he was beaten up by two An Duong District police officers who held him in a police station for questioning about his alleged fencing of stolen laptops.


He is still under treatment.


At around 1 a.m. on June 6, when Khanh and his family were sleeping, a team of An Duong police officers stormed into their house and said they wanted search the house for stolen laptops.


Khanh is the director of his family's company, based in the house, that trades computers.


The police said they had arrested some thieves who confessed to selling stolen laptops to Khanh's company.

Khanh admitted he had bought some laptops from Khang and Thinh, two of the thieves the police brought to his house.


The search lasted until 6 a.m, and the police seized 17 laptops.


They then asked Khanh to accompany them to the district police station. Khanh's father Pham Van Khuong demanded to see an arrest warrant, but they ignored him and forced Khanh to go, according to the family.


Khuong sent complaints to relevant authorities, and received a reply from the An Duong District prosecutors' office saying it had not issued an arrest warrant against Khanh.

The family only saw Khanh five days later, on June 11, and in the hospital where he had been rushed by the police unconscious and with multiple injuries on his body.

Khanh also told Tien Phong he was forced to sign a paper saying he had "voluntarily" stayed at the police station from June 6 for questioning.


He was repeatedly ordered by some officers to sign a confession saying he had knowingly bought stolen laptops, he said.


He was beaten up for refusing to sign, he said.


One officer had suggested that he could get away by paying VND200 million (US$9,500), he said.


His father said he got a call from a stranger who said the family had to pay VND200 million if they wanted Khanh let off.


But on Wednesday Senior Lieutenant-Colonel Pham Duy Dien, a spokesman for the city force , denied all the accusations.


He said Khanh had volunteered to stay at the police station and admitted to knowingly buying laptops from thieves.


Khanh showed signs of fatigue after taking some sleeping pills he had brought with him to the police station and fell into a coma, he said.


The Hai Phong Forensic Examination Center found Khanh had several minor external injuries and not brain injuries, he said, but they were there even before he was taken by the police.


The center also said Khanh had been poisoned by the sleeping pills, but his condition is improving after treatment, he said.


The Supreme People's Procuracy, the federal prosecutors' office, is investigating Khanh's detention.

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