Vietnamese couple face charges of extorting money from compatriots in Russia

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The Ministry of Public Security Wednesday asked prosecutors to charge a Vietnamese couple with extorting money from their compatriots living in Russia.


Pham The Vinh, 39, and Nguyen Ha Lan, 33, were arrested last October by the Russian police and handed over to the Vietnamese police this month.


The couple live in Moscow.


The police said that in 2009 Vinh, who owned a garment factory in a Moscow suburb, got to know some Russian police officers and gradually became an interpreter for them.


He came upon the idea of extorting money from Vietnamese nationals who owned garment firms that made fake products.


In March 2010 he led some police officers to an establishment belonging to a Vietnamese named Phan Van V.


He then asked V. to pay him around one million Russian roubles (US$31,800) failing which he said he would report to the Russian police about his fake products and shut the factory down.


When V. refused to pay, Vinh led the police to another of V.'s garment factories for checks.


He continued to threaten V. and demanded money.


V. paid up 900,000 roubles but reported to the police.


The Moscow police said three other Vietnamese nationals also reported that Vinh and his wife extorted $70,000 and 600,000 roubles using a similar trick.

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