Vietnam jails police officer for demanding bribes from drivers

By Phan Thuong, Thanh Nien News

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Le Thanh Nghi, a former lieutenant with police division in Hiep Binh Phuoc Ward of Thu Duc District, was convicted of abusing his powers. Photo:  Phan Thuong Le Thanh Nghi, a former lieutenant with police division in Hiep Binh Phuoc Ward of Thu Duc District, was convicted of abusing his powers. Photo: Phan Thuong

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A court in Ho Chi Minh City on Monday sentenced a former police officer to two years in jail for soliciting and taking bribes from two drivers, after wrongfully confiscated their documents.
Le Thanh Nghi, 53, was found guilty of abusing his power.
The indictment said Nghi was tasked with night patrols to suppress criminals and illegal motorcycle street racers on January 20, 2013.
Nghi stopped Doan Van Trang, a cargo tricycle driver, at Binh Phuoc Overpass that night.
As Trang failed to produce a driver's license, Nghi confiscated his vehicle registration certificate and ID card. The police officer then demanded Trang pay him VND5 million (US$232) within two days to get the papers back.
On January 22, Trang called Nghi, begging the officer to reduce the amount. Nghi accepted to bring it down to VND4 million ($185).
Trang gave Nghi the money at a cafe and received his papers.
Earlier in the same month, Nghi had similarly solicited a bribe from another cargo tricycle driver, Nguyen Duc Toan. Toan got his papers back after giving Nghi VND2 million.
Nghi was soon put under investigation after Thanh Nien exposed the cases based on Toan and Trang’s information.
Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Van Bien said Nghi’s pulling over the tricycles was illegal as he was not assigned to do that.
Bien also said that under Vietnamese laws, driving without a license is punishable by a VND1 million fine.

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