A Vietnamese court handed down a four-year sentence to a former senior police officer today for investigative negligence which allowed culprits from a notorious gang to escape penalties for various crimes, including homicide.
Former Lieutenant Colonel Hoang Dinh Loan, an ex-Deputy Police Chief of southern Binh Thuan province’s Ham Tan District was found guilty of “irresponsibility causing serious consequences” in his investigation into killings and assault causing bodily harm by the notorious Doi Hoa Mai (Apricot Hill) Gang which terrorized the province for years until prosecuted in 2005.
In 2001, members of the gang reportedly beat Nguyen Trung Duc to death after a minor argument at a bar. They allegedly dumped his body in a sewer.
Hoang Dinh Loan, who at the time was assigned the investigation, wrote in his report that Nguyen Trung Duc had simply drowned.
In another instance, Loan abstained from prosecuting other gang members involved in violently assaulting another man following another café row.
It was noted that bribery is not suspected in either case.
When the gang was smashed in 2005 and its leader, Nguyen Thanh Guong, alias “Hai Chi”, was arrested, Hai Chi revealed the assaults had occurred and Loan was subsequently charged and arrested.
In trial earlier this month, Hai Chi was sentenced to 19 years imprisonment on various charges of “intentional assault, robbery, and gambling”.
The Doi Hoa Mai (Apricot Hill) gang was based in Ham Tan and involved in illegal logging, protection rackets, assault and battery, gambling, and bribery.