Police in the northern Vietnamese province of Vinh Phuc say that the son-in-law of the provincial mayor was not involved in the murder of a local man, despite allegations to the contrary.
Police wrapped up investigations into the death of Nguyen Tuan Anh, 27, last week. The case had made headlines across the country after his family held a public protest, carrying his coffin through town in a procession demanding an investigation into his death.
The family accused Tran Khanh Dung, the son-in-law of Phung Quang Hung, chairman of the provincial People's Committee, of being involved in the killing.
On Sunday, provincial investigators asked prosecutors to ratify murder charges against six men they said were directly involved in the murder.
According to investigators, at around 11 p.m. on March 14, Anh and his cousin Nguyen Duy Hiep entered an eatery in Vinh Yen Town. They then picked a fight with the aforesaid six men.
The group beat the pair up and chased after them. The duo tried to run but Anh fell near a sewer on Vinh Yen Town's Quan Tien Street. A man caught him and kicked him into the sewer.
Hiep managed to flee the scene.
Investigators said the group left Anh in the sewer. On the morning of March 17, local residents found his dead body in the sewer.
Local police had an autopsy performed and concluded that Anh had drowned after falling into the sewer.
However, his family disagreed with the finding saying Anh had multiple bruises on his body and some of his teeth were missing.
On the afternoon of March 17, more than 1,000 local residents joined the family as they carried Anh's coffin to the area near the Vinh Phuc Post Office, demanding an investigation into his death.
The family said they suspected that Anh had been beaten up by a group led by Dung, the son-in-law of the provincial mayor.
The protest caused five hours of gridlock in central Vinh Yen Town.
One day later, local police announced that they had investigated and arrested the six men involved in the murder.
They said that when Anh was pushed into the sewer, he was still alive, but he was unable to get out because he was drunk, and consequently drowned.
Hung, the provincial mayor, has repeatedly denied the involvement of his son-in-law in the murder. Dung has been summoned for questioning by police several times, and they have maintained that no evidence has linked him to the murder.
According to a Thanh Nien source, the six suspects are employees of a construction company of which Dung is the director.
Dung himself is an ex-convict. After being released from prison several years ago, he recruited some former inmates to work for his company.
Before the time of the murder, the six men lived in a house that Dung and his wife used to live in.