Police seal tanks of acid in Dong Nai Province May 8 after its owner failed to produce legal papers. PHOTO: DO TRUONG
A two-month Thanh Nien investigation helped bust a major acid smuggling syndicate in southern Vietnam, last week.
Nguyen Van Thanh, 46, a chemical dealer in Dong Nai Province failed to produce a license for storing or transporting acid products on May 8, following a visit from Vietnamese police.
The authorities found some 2,000 liters of the highly corrosive hydrochloric acid (HCl) at his facility.
It's rather easy to buy caustic acid in Vietnam, which makes acid attacks a frequent and brutal crime.
Thanh, who is known among insiders as Hung, also failed to produce the requisite licenses for nearly 4,000 liters of sodium hydroxide, or caustic soda (NaOH) being stored on his property.
Police also found three tanker trucks which they deemed unsuitable for moving acid.
Thanh's chemical tanks and trucks were sealed during the inspection.
A person who used to work as a driver for Thanh said his factory, which is located near the border with Binh Duong Province is the biggest (and quite possibly the sole provider) of acid in Binh Duong.
He called Thanh an acid “tycoon” in the area.
He said Thanh colludes with drivers at factories in the area, skimming hundreds of liters of HCl and NaOH from their trucks and reselling the liquid to private individuals.