Former prisoner says Vietnamese police took his money

Anti-corruption campaigner claims thousands of dollars are missing.


RFA | 2024.02.22 

Former prisoner Le Van Sinh has accused the police in Vietnam’s Ninh Binh province of taking 400 million VND (US$16,260) that he’d stashed in the trunk of his motorbike before his arrest.

Sinh, 59, was arrested on February 15, 2019 on charges of "abusing democratic freedoms" under Article 331 of the criminal law and subsequently sentenced to five years in prison.

Before his arrest he fought with neighbors over land and accused Hoa Lu district officials of issuing improper land rights certificates to local households.

He also posted comments on Facebook accusing provincial officials of corruption.

Five years ago, he was summoned to the provincial police headquarters to discuss his case.

He came by bike and parked it at the gate of the office. In the trunk, he said, was 400 million VND that he’d brought with him to repay a bank loan.

The bike was handed over to his ex-wife, with whom he shared a house, on the same day, but the money was missing, he said.

During his initial detention and in his trial in Sept. 2019 he spoke up about the loss.

“During my time in detention, I denounced my illegal arrest, the illegal seizure of my bike and theft of my property but no agency responded,” he told Radio Free Asia on Thursday. .

RFA Vietnamese was unable to verify his claims. A reporter called Ninh Binh Provincial Police and was told to ask Le Van Sinh to write to the provincial police director about his case.

Police in the spotlight

It isn’t the first case of a Vietnamese prisoner of conscience accusing the police of confiscating cash.

Le Thi Binh claims officers took the equivalent of US$11,000 in dollars and Vietnamese dong from her handbag and wallet during her arrest in Dec. 2022.

Binh was released last November after serving a two-year prison sentence allegedly “abusing democratic freedoms.”

On her release, she livestreamed on Facebook complaining about the missing money that she said was to pay for home improvements.

Police responded by bringing her in for questioning about comments they said affected the reputation of state agencies, including the Binh Thuy district Police in Vietnam’s southern Can Tho city.

Translated by RFA Vietnamese. Edited by Mike Firn and Elaine Chan.




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