Viet Nam News
ĐỒNG NAI – Prosecutors and police in southern Đồng Nai Province’s Nhơn Trạch District yesterday apologised for wrongly arresting and prosecuting a local woman who had reported illegal sand dredging in September 2015.
At the meeting with Nguyễn Thị Ánh Ngọc, the woman who was wrongly arrested, the two State agencies admitted they had made mistakes during the investigation and the prosecution.
Colonel Lê Văn Hùng, a representative of the Đồng Nai Province’s investigation police, said Ngọc should have been fined for her actions “against law enforcers” instead of being arrested.
According to the police document, Ngọc had rented land for shrimp farming in Phước An Commune in Nhơn Trạch District.
On September 5, 2015, she called police to report an illegal sand dredging boat on the Đồng Nai River. When Nhơn Thành District police arrived, they let the boat go and said they would write a violation report for a different location. Ngọc and other local residents insisted the police record the violation immediately. She even held the sand pumping pipe, shouted at the officers and threatened to kill herself if the police did not punish the violators.
Ngọc told the Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper that she held the pipe so that the boat could not leave and she wanted an immediate report from police so that they could not "ignore" the violations like they had done previously.
Six months later, on April14, 2016, the district police prosecuted Ngọc for her actions against the law enforcers.
On April 19, 2016, Ngọc was summoned to the police station and put in temporary detention in connection with another case in which she reported forest rangers had beat her and destroyed her shrimp farm in February 2015.
The woman said she had submitted several letters of denunciation to local authorities and photos taken as evidence, saying many forest rangers did not fulfill their duties and aided and abetted sand thieves to continue their illegal activities.
Her arrest was questioning by the public, following which Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc asked the provincial People’s Committee to review her case.
The head of Nhơn Trạch District People’s Prosecuracy, Trương Bùi Nhã Linh, said Ngọc had been prosecuted because police documents showed Ngọc acted against the law enforcers.
Later, however, investigators found new evidence of police errors and cancelled Ngọc’s temporary detention and prosecution. — VNS