Vietnam cops face charges for helping graft fugitive flee country

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Duong Tu Trong (L), former deputy police chief of Hai Phong, and his brother Duong Chi Dung, whom Trong ordered his subordinates to help flee Vietnam following accusations of graft. Photo by Pham Hai Sam

The Ministry of Public Security Tuesday instructed prosecutors to charge seven people for allegedly helping a former head of the Vietnam National Shipping Lines flee the country after being hauled up in a multimillion dollar graft case.

Duong Tu Trong, former deputy police chief of the northern city of Hai Phong and younger brother of Duong Chi Dung, the fugitive who was later apprehended in Cambodia, was in the list sent to the Supreme People's Procuracy, Vietnam's highest prosecutors' office,

The others to be charged include suspended city police officers Vu Tien Son, Vu Trong Anh, and Hoang Van Thang and customs official Dong Xuan Phong, who is also wanted by the Ho Chi Minh City police in a smuggling case and is in hiding.

Earlier police said Trong, 52, who was arrested in February, also faces a charge of "abuse of power" for ordering his subordinates to abet the escape of Dung.

Dung, 56, fled Vietnam in May last year, one day before investigators arrived at his house to arrest him for mismanagement of the state shipping giant's resources while being chairman from 2005 to 2012.

During the investigation he had been promoted as the head of the Vietnam Maritime Administration

Dung was later caught in Cambodia in September and extradited to Vietnam.

Investigations revealed that he had intended to escape to China, but had changed plans to go to Cambodia, Singapore, and on to the US, but could not enter the US due to an Interpol warrant out for him.

He returned to Cambodia and stayed there for nearly three months in three different places, getting $24,000 from his accomplices for his expenses.

Together with Dung, nine Vinalines officials have been arrested and charged with "deliberately violating state economic regulations causing serious consequences" in buying a floating dock for US$9 million and more than 70 ships in poor condition from abroad.

Dung reportedly earned VND10 billion ($474,300) from the dock scam, which, according to investigators, caused losses of nearly VND367 billion to the company.

The ministry said earlier this month that Dung had used his ill-gotten money to buy two luxury apartments for his mistress in Hanoi. It has seized them.

The case is set to go on trial by the end of this year.

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