The Gia Lai Province Police September 17 reported acts of public disorder, including vandalism against police and public property, following the death of a man in the province's town of An Khe.
At a press conference, the police provided details of the death of Pham Ngoc Den, 29, and the ensuing violence.
At 8 am on September 14, the town’s traffic police signaled Den, who was riding a motorbike, to pull over as he was not wearing a helmet.
Despite the police’s request, Den continued riding. The police then gave chase. When Den’s motorbike ran out of gasoline, he got off his bike ran away.
The police temporarily seized the vehicle after failing to find him.
On September 15, Den’s father, Pham Dinh Phuoc, informed the local police about his missing son, saying he had just found Den’s pairs of shoes by the bank of Ba River.
A search for him was made and at 9 pm he was found dead in the river. The autopsy indicated that he drowned.
During the subsequent investigation, a mob of angry people attacked police and health workers, injuring 30.
The crowd also smashed eight automobiles owned by the police and An Khe General Hospital.
The police detained 99 people, but it was not until 1:30am on September 17 that they could disperse the angry crowd.
Den’s family conducted his burial on the same day's evening.
The press conference was held by the provincial Police, the provincial Department of Information and Communication, and the provincial Party Committee’s Commission for Propaganda and Education.
The deputy director of the Gia Lai Province’s Police, Colonel Phan Lang, said there have been some cases in which the police pursued traffic law violators, with the chase leading to the deaths of those people or other road-users.
The province’s police have issued orders asking for an improvement of police actions, but the situation has yet to improve, Col. Lang said.