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People's Court orders VND23-billion compensation for wrongful conviction

Update: August, 11/2015 - 00:00
Luong Ngoc Phi, who was wrongfully convicted in a fraud case that once shocked the northern Thai Binh Province, will receive almost VND23 billion (US$1.05 million) as compensation from the provincial court. – Photo

THAI BINH (VNS) — The Thai Binh City People's Court yesterday said the Thai Binh Province People's Court should pay almost VND23 billion (US$1.05 million) as compensation to Luong Ngoc Phi for wrongful conviction.

The seven-day trial had commenced on August 4, with 67-year-old Phi, former director of the Hoa Binh Agriculture and Seafood Import and Export Company, suing the provincial court for wrongful conviction and asking for a record VND64 billion (US$2.93 million) as compensation.

At the trial to reopen his 2013 compensation case, Phi demanded compensation for 1,066 days of imprisonment; confiscation of his properties that were auctioned off before the sentencing procedures were completed -- which were later overturned --, and extensive damage to his business.

Phi said at the trial's conclusion that he agreed with the decision of the Thai Binh City People's Court, but wondered when he would receive the compensation.

Phi was indicted in April 1998 for fraud to appropriate property and for not paying taxes.

He was sentenced on September 29, 1999, to 17 years in prison. More than 280 tonnes of pearl barley, 31 tonnes of millet, 307kg of Japanese sesame seeds and a Daewoo sedan that he owned were confiscated and sold.

In 2001, the Thai Binh's People Procuracy said Phi had been wrongfully convicted. By the time he was released from prison, Phi had served almost three years for crimes he did not commit.

The Thai Binh City People's Court ruled on August 26, 2013, that the Provincial People's Court should pay VND21 billion ($963,000) to Phi as compensation for the damage done to his business and VND666 million ($30,000) for the impact on his mental and physical health.

Phi received $30,000 as compensation 10 months after the court's verdict. However, even after 12 years and six unsuccessful attempts to negotiate with the Provincial People's Court, Phi has not received a single penny as compensation for the damage to his business. —  VNS

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