Vietnam cops jailed for extorting bribes from forest rangers

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A court in the northeastern province of Ha Giang on Tuesday upheld the combined 15 years in prison handed down to two former police officers for "taking bribes" from forest rangers after blackmailing them.


Vi Anh Tuan, former deputy chief of Ha Giang Province Police Department's Investigation Police Division, and Nguyen Dinh Quang, an investigator, had their respective eight and seven year sentences upheld in the appeals trial.


The provincial People's Court delivered the sentences to the pair in their original trial on January 24. Tuan then appealed the verdict.


According to the indictment, in 2011, Tuan and Quang wrote an anonymous letter accusing rangers from Meo Vac District's Forest Protection Bureau of illegally seizing and selling logged timber.


They hired Vu Thi Nhung, a primary school teacher, to send the letter to the Ha Giang Police Department.


The pair then used the letter to blackmail Nguyen Viet Xuan, the bureau chief, and Hoang Nam Khanh, an officer, repeatedly demanding VND100 million (US$47,800) from them, threatening that if they did not pay up their bureau would be "in trouble."


On June 9, Khanh gave Quang VND20 million. Quang urged him to fork over the rest quickly.


Xuan reported the extortion to the police.


On June 21, police caught Quang red-handed receiving VND50 million from Xuan and Khanh in his office.


Provincial police did not press against Xuan and Khanh for their payments, saying the duo had actively helped police expose corruption.


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