Vietnam police seeking criminal charges in corrupted gas scandal

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Tank truck drivers and transport service employees involved in the adulteration of gasoline recently exposed by Thanh Nien in Ho Chi Minh City will face criminal charges, a police official said Thursday.

Major-Colonel Phan Anh Minh, vice director of HCMC's police division, made the statement at a press conference on the city's public security one day after his division took over the case from the economic crimes department under the Ministry of Public Security's southern agency (C46B).

It will take time to collect sufficient evidence, so people need to be patient with police, he said.

According to Anh, before handing over the case, the C46B had interrogated six suspected truck drivers who confessed to the wrongdoing.

However, since the siphoned gasoline was estimated to be worth less than VND2 million (US$95.92), it was impossible to press criminal charges against them, he said.

Police will have to obtain more evidence proving that the culprits committed the crime continuously over a period of time sufficient to charge them, the official stressed.

The drivers are likely to face charges of robbery or embezzlement, while those who traded in the siphoned gasoline bought from them will be charged with consuming properties that others acquire by illegal means, Anh said.

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Last month Thanh Nien published a series of investigative reports unveiling that many unscrupulous tank truck drivers were siphoning gasoline and replacing it with other liquids while en route from depots to retail stations.

The findings have raised serious public concerns over the poor quality of gasoline, which has emerged as the main suspect in the cases of causing over one hundred vehicle fires to occur in Vietnam since last year.

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