Police in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau have suspended a cop and a militiaman for beating a fight suspect so badly that doctors had to remove his spleen.
Le Trong Huu, 23, a police officer of Hoa Binh Commune, Xuyen Moc District, and Tong Van Chin, 22, a commune militiaman, has been restricted to his neighborhood while officers investigate allegations of police brutality, a source said Wednesday.
Huu and his colleagues allegedly sprayed tear gas at Nguyen Tien Thanh and Tran Xuan Phuoc on the morning of June 23 when they stopped at a coffee shop to ask for directions to a relative’s house.
Thanh and Phuoc fell from their motorbike. Phuoc escaped on foot.
Thanh ran into a nearby house; Huu and Chin followed and beat him.
“They kicked my face and belly,” news website VnExpress quoted Thanh as saying.
“When I could not move anymore, they carried me to the police station and continued beating me.
“They only took me to the medical center when I complained that my belly ached,” he said.
Nguyen Binh, his father, told VnExpress that he came to the police station after hearing about the arrest but was not allowed to see Thanh.
Binh came back at 11:30pm and an officer asked him to take his son from the commune medical center to a major hospital.
Nguyen Tien Thanh, 20, bears a scar from the removal of his spleen after a police officer and a militiaman in Vung Tau beat him severely on June 23, 2014. Photo credit: VnExpress
“I saw two police officers standing outside (the medical center) and my son was balled up on the floor inside.
“He muttered that the police beat him,” the father said.
Doctors at Ba Ria Hospital diagnosed Thanh with internal injuries to his spleen and transferred him to the famous Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City.
After a month-long treatment, doctors removed his spleen.
Thanh has been discharged home but he continues to suffer from fever and abdominal pains.
Colonel Nguyen Van Minh, the district police chief, told VnExpress that the commune police were acting on a tip-off about two young men who looked like they were prepared for a fight, so Huu and Chin were sent out to investigate.
Thanh and his friend were allegedly carrying a can of gasoline they said they'd purchased to fill up a motorbike at home.
The wife of the commune’s police chief is said to be the owner of the café where they stopped for directions.
Police brutality has made regular headlines nationwide.
In one of the most recent cases, investigators from the Ministry of Public Security arrested a police officer in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak on October 3 for allegedly beating a timber poaching suspect to death in March 2013.
Security officials arrested another Dak Lak police officer in July after a burglary suspect died in his custody.
Last month, four Hanoi cops were sentenced to between 8 and 17 years in jail for torturing a 54-year old burglary suspect to death in 2012.
The officers escaped the life sentence sought by prosecutors.
In the same month, a ranking officer in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang was detained as part of an official investigation into his subordinate officers' alleged mistreatment of a group of innocent men during a murder investigation last year.
Five officers convicted of beating a suspect to death in May 2012 in the south central province of Phu Yen are currently awaiting another trial after the sentences handed down in April were dismissed as overly lenient
Vietnam’s top prosecutors have also pressed charge against their superior officer.
President Truong Tan Sang said in July that police brutality is “destroying the system and the people’s confidence in the government.”