Police in the coal-producing province of Quang Ninh have arrested a number of executives and employees at state mining group Vinacomin for embezzling coal from the company's mines and stores.
Colonel Le Van Hue, head of the provincial police department's economic crime division, said the members of Quang Hanh Company, a subsidiary of Vinacomin, claims the men are guilty of seeking personal profits from public property
His unit is investigating how and when the practice began.
Hue suggested that the suspects committed multiple acts of theft. One of their customers was Nguyen Quang Cuong, an illegal coal dealer operating in the area.
On October 9, Quang Ninh investigators took nine security guards and storekeepers from Quang Hanh into custody for allegedly colluding with drivers at Vinacomin’s Cam Pha Port and Logistics Company to steal and sell coal from the company’s store.
Another Quang Hanh employee was officially placed under investigation, but spared detention so she could care for her newborn child.
Investigators say Nguyen Huu Nguyen, 37, the company's security chief, ordered his subordinates to open company’s door at around 5 am on September 28 and allow three trucks to cart off around 60 tons of coal.
Four employees of the state-owned coal mining group Vinacomin (R) being interrogated for their role in allegedly company coal.
Police say the coal was sold to Cuong for VND54 million (US$2,540). Nguyen took the lion share--VND5 million.
Police say the drivers each received VND3 million each.
Storekeeper Nguyen Thi Hang, 32, pocketed the rest, they claim.
The investigation remains underway.
On May 29, the police caught three company employees and an executive, of Vinacomin’s Ha Long Coal Company helping outsiders attempting to cart off company coal in private vehicles.
They were all arrested at the scene.
The executive have not been identified, but the three others were security guard Hao Van Hai, storekeeper Nguyen Thi Thuy and conveyor belt supervisor Pham Van Son.
On Hai’s shift, Son allegedly funneled coal into his car instead of toward the company store, when he was caught by police.
A Quang Ninh investigator said the amount of coal was not major in either case, but very likely represented “the tip of an iceberg.”
Small criminal alliances plague numerous units of Vietnam's state-owned coal industry, the officer said.
The crimes are easy to conceal as each participant typically appears to simply be engaging in routine work.