Police and prosecutors in the southern province of Dong Nai on Sunday apologized to a local woman who had exposed illegal sand mining activities but ended up getting arrested for “resisting officers.”
Dong Nai police said Nguyen Thi Anh Ngoc, 34, was released on Friday and that they had dropped the case against her.
This all came after Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered the police to review the case, following media reports that the whistleblower was unfairly arrested.
In September last year, Ngoc, who owned a shrimp farm on Thi Vai River in Nhon Trach District, repeatedly reported to Phuoc An police about the rampant illegal sand mining from the river. Police allegedly did not take any action.
On September 5, she called the police again informing that a company was extracting sand on the river. Three hours later, some officers came to the site.
The officers promised to file a report but only after pulling ashore some of the sand-transporting boats.
Ngoc reportedly asked them to make the report right away with her as a witness, fearing the case could be ignored again.
The police said Ngoc was overacting and that it was not her responsibility. Ngoc reportedly screamed and yelled at the police.
On February 26 and 27, four rangers of Long Thanh Forest’s Management Board in Nhon Trach District came to Ngoc’s shrimp farm. They damaged her hut, claiming it was built illegally.
Ngoc filed a complaint to local police, accusing the rangers of attacking her after she exposed the illegal sand mining.
On April 19, local police summoned her for questioning. Soon after she came, she was arrested and taken to Nhon Trach District's police station.
Nhon Trach police said she would be detained for “resisting officers on duty."
Ngoc was detained for four days.
After she was released, local authorities promised to look into the case involving the forest rangers.