HÀ NỘI – Hà Nội police on Monday announced the launch of an investigation into an alleged parking racket that might involve tens of billions đồng at the city’s biggest wholesale market of Long Biên.
The investigation will look into suspected asset appropriation, police said.
On Sunday, Ba Đình District People’s Committee said Nguyễn Văn Loan, a deputy manager of Long Biên market, was temporarily suspended from work for 15 days to “explain relevant information regarding the parking racket network” at the market.
Loan was directly in charge of two market cargo unloading teams of 36 porters, which were also suspended.
Such moves came following an exposé by VTV late September reporting an illegal parking fee that hundreds of merchants were forced to pay market porters to be able to unload their cargo.
According to the TV station, each merchant had to pay at least VNĐ200,000 (US$9) a vehicle a day and up to VNĐ350,000 for a big truck.
As the biggest wholesale market of agricultural products in Hà Nội, Long Biên hosts roughly more than 1,000 merchants, of which more than 300 regularly need parking space to unload cargo. A merchant told VTV that she paid VNĐ100 million last year to secure a parking space.
That meant the illegal parking payments could easily amount to at least VNĐ30 billion a year.
Such money, however, did not go to the Long Biên Market Management Committee which only collected entrance fees of between VNĐ15,000 and VNĐ60,000, according to VTV.
After the documentary was broadcast nationwide, the Market Management Committee suspended porter Lê Thanh Hải who had appeared in the documentary as one of those who ran the racket, and his colleague Nguyễn Mạnh Long.
Hà Nội People’s Committee chairman Nguyễn Đức Chung also ordered an investigation into the case, asking the city police to report the results by September 30. – VNS