Woman awarded $105 after wrongful strip-search at police station

By Minh Huy, Thanh Nien News

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Officer Vo Van Thai (R) at the trial on July 16. Photo: Minh Huy Officer Vo Van Thai (R) at the trial on July 16. Photo: Minh Huy
The amount is only a fifth of what she has demanded for being humiliated in front of a male officer


A Phu Yen court has ordered a district police department to compensate a woman whose shirt and bra were stripped off in front of a male officer when she was being investigated over theft allegations. 
Tuy An District Police has to pay VND2.3 million (US$105) to 26-year-old Tran Thi To Loan, the court said Thursday.
The amount was only one-fifth of what she had demanded. 
The case happened on October 27, 2012 when Loan was summoned to the police station following allegations that she stole a bracelet from Vo Thi Kim Huong, a local woman, during a brawl earlier the same day.
According to Loan, officer Vo Van Thai ordered her to face the wall so that Huong could search her body.
Huong stripped Loan’s shirt and bra before she was able to turn to face the wall.
No bracelet was found but Thai was caught looking at Loan when she was half-naked, according to her complaint.
Loan later filed a lawsuit demanding Tuy An Police to pay her VND11.5 million for humiliating her and to apologize to her in public.  
A court of first instance in 2014 decided to take a disciplinary measure against Thai by assigning him to another unit. The court, however, only found Thai guilty of “violating relevant procedures” when allowing Huong to strip-search Loan.
Loan appealed the verdict and insisted that the police would have to compensate her for the damage to her dignity. 
The appeal court on Thursday awarded her some money. It rejected Loan’s demand for a public apology, saying that the police department has repeatedly “invited” Loan over to the station to apologize to her.

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