Viet Nam News
HẢI PHÒNG — The Hải Phòng City police have decided to initiate criminal proceedings against three journalists from Kinh Doanh and Pháp Luật (Business and Law) newspaper for extortion.
Colonel Nguyễn Đức Cường, head of Hải Phòng’s Hồng Bàng District Police, said the trio had abused their position as journalists.
They are Phạm Văn Tân, 27, Phan Thành Long, 26, both residents of An Lão District and reporters at the newspaper, and Văn Thương, 43, head of the branch office of the newspaper in Hải Phòng City.
The two reporters were caught red-handed on March 24 while taking money from Đào Thị Đài, a resident of Ngô Quyền District.
Tân and Long had extorted money from Đài earlier too. They were blackmailing her by threatening to publish a report in the newspaper about her violating construction rules while building her house.
After arresting the duo, the police conducted an urgent search at the newspaper office, seized many documents linked to their criminal activities and arrested Thương, the leader of the extortion racket.
At the police station, the three accused confessed to the crime.
Thương said he studied and supplied information to the two reporters and other accomplices about local families that have violated construction rules. They would then approach their victims, present the evidence and extort money from them. Each gang member would get 10 per cent of the money collected.
In March alone, Thương had extorted VNĐ20 million (around US$900), the police said, adding that this had been going on for a long time and that they had blackmailed many people.
Investigations are on to build a strong case and prosecute the accused. — VNS