Vietnam cops convicted for extorting money from sex workers

TN News

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A court in the northern province of Lang Son on Wednesday sentenced two former police officers to prison terms for extorting money from sex workers, while another officer was acquitted due to lack of evidence.

Trieu Van Hieu, 29, was cleared of the charge of "appropriating others' property," while his colleagues Hoang Van Truong, 25, and Nguy Van Hung, 31, received one year in jail and a one-year suspended sentence respectively.

Resident Hua Viet Tu, 30, who took part in the crime, will be jailed one year after being convicted of the same charge.

Prosecutors had suggested jail terms of between 12 and 18 months for each of the four.

Hung and Truong in March last year had asked Tu to help bust a prostitution operation by inviting a female sex worker to a guest house as part of a sting operation, according to the indictment.

The officers demanded VND30 million (US$1,433) from the woman in order to be set free, but she refused, so they seized VND500,000 and some gold jewelry from her person and only let her go after she agreed to borrow VND2 million to hand over to them.

Truong and Hieu allegedly used the same plot to seize VND2.7 million from another sex worker, with Tu receiving a share of the confiscated funds in both cases in exchange for his help.

Tu said at the hearing that he thought he was simply helping police officers.

The victims filed a complaint with the provincial police in May. Investigations later found the officers had also taken nearly VND4 million from gamblers last April.

The court said the officers had made use of their position to bully people involved in illegal activities, and in doing so, had tainted the police image. 

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