Vietnam jails former cop for AK-47 standoff

By Mai Tram, Thanh Nien News

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Police take Tong Hoang Phuc (center) to the court in O Mon District, Can Tho City on December 11, 2014. Photo: Mai Tram Police take Tong Hoang Phuc (center) to the court in O Mon District, Can Tho City on December 11, 2014. Photo: Mai Tram
A court in southern Vietnam has sentenced a former police sergeant to nine years and nine months in jail for his dark murder-suicide plot in April.
The People’s Court of O Mon District in Can Tho City on Thursday convicted Tong Hoang Phuc, 21, of the illegal use of military weapons, uttering lethal threats, unlawful detention, robbery, and property damage.
According to the indictment, Phuc, a sergeant who had been charged with guarding the VN2 radio station in Co Do District’s Thoi Hung Commune was out drinking beer with friends on April 15 when he received a phone call from his girlfriend.
She wanted to end their relationship.
That evening, Phuc stole VND3.5 million (US$165) and a key from underneath the bed of officer Doan Hoang Tang while he slept.
Phuc used the key to break into the traffic division's armory, steal an AK-47 assault rifle, three ammunition clips and two pairs of handcuffs.
With the weapons in tow, he rented a room at the 555 Hotel in O Mon District.
When Nguyen Be Lu, a hotel employee, brought a bowl of noodles to his room at around 1AM, on April 16, Phuc took him hostage.
An hour later, when two other hotel employees came to Phuc’s room looking for Lu, Phuc opened fire.
When the first two police officers arrived at the hotel, Phuc began firing down on them from his terrace.
More than 100 armed members of a special response unit were mobilized to the scene.
Phuc continued to fire at them, while Lu sat handcuffed in his room. Phuc demanded that his girlfriend be sent over to meet him in a tanker truck full of gasoline driven by a female driver.
Police refused his demands.
At 6:40AM, Phuc asked to see his parents and surrendered soon after meeting them.
A suicide note addressed to his mother and father, which was later found in his office, revealed that he planned to kill his girlfriend and himself.
Fortunately, she never arrived and no casualties were reported.

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