Vietnam probes traffic cop bribery accusations

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The Ministry of Public Security has ordered its C44 inspectorate to investigate accusations that traffic police in several provinces have been soliciting and receiving bribes from truck drivers, Tuoi Tre reported Wednesday.

Le Dinh Nhuong, deputy chief of C44, announced the investigation after the newspaper published stories alleging that traffic police officers had asked truck drivers to pay bribes along highways in Hanoi, the central provinces of Thanh Hoa, Ha Nam, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, and Thua Thien Hue, and the central city of Da Nang.

On Tuesday the ministry's office also sent letters to police divisions in the above-mentioned provinces and cities to inspect the accusations and handle violations in accordance with laws, it said.

The divisions' leaders were asked to report their findings and actions to the ministry and announce the results of the probe to the media next Thursday, it added.

Meanwhile, on Monday, director of Thanh Hoa province's police division suspended three officers accused of taking bribes in Tuoi Tre's reports for investigations, the news source said, adding that it was unknown how long the suspension is.

Le Ngoc Nam, deputy head of the ministry's general department of forces enforcement, told Tuoi Tre that the ministry and related agencies will handle the case strictly.

He said the practice was discovered a couple of years ago, and the ministry has since then opened training courses to raise officers' awareness.

However, while leaders noticed the improvement among forces in general, there are still some who practice bribery, Nam added.

In the reports published since Monday, Tuoi Tre said its reporters followed drivers to transport goods on long distance trips.

They found that the drivers were asked to pay between VND50,000-5 million (US$2.4-240.38) at most police posts, whenever they were found violating regulations like speeding up, and carrying more goods than their vehicles' designed weights.

The newspaper quoted the drivers as saying that it was a common practice.

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