Two traffic cops from the Central Highlands have been suspended pending an investigation into an alleged chase that left one motorist dead and two others injured.
Pham The Dung, chairman of Gia Lai Province, told the press on Tuesday that the provincial authorities are clarifying whether a chase in fact occurred and investigating allegations that the officers caused an accident and then beat three injured young men with batons.
“If any violations are confirmed, we will suggest criminal charges against those involved,” Dung told Lao Dong newspaper, without providing the officers’ names.
According to one of the survivors of the crash, the officers chased after three young men riding on a single without helmets for 400 meters until they crashed on Monday night.
Vietnamese traffic rules allow a maximum of two adults on a motorbike and wearing crash helmets has been obligatory since late 2007.
Tran Van Bac, 19, one of the three, accused the officers of ultimately causing the crash.
Bac said the officers first tried to hit them with an electrified stun device as they attempted to outrun them. While the device never made contact, the attempted attack allegedly caused the driver Le Hoai Thuong, 16, to lose momentary control over the motorbike.
Bac said that just as Thuong managed to regain control over his bike, the officer sitting pillion struck him with a baton causing him to crash into a road divider, sending the three men hurtling to the pavement.
“When we fell, the officers used their batons to beat us,” Bac told Lao Dong.
Thuong died at Gia Lai General Hospital on Tuesday afternoon after surgeons failed to stop the significant bleeding caused by cerebral and spinal injuries.
Bac and Nguyen Diep Manh Cau, 20, suffered minor injuries and were discharged after receiving first aid at the hospital.
Dung said local officials have visited the victims and their families and given them money to cover the cost of their treatment.