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Ministry of Public Security to investigate death threats to journalists

Update: December, 04/2018 - 17:00
A fruits store at Long Biên wholesale market. Two journalists received death threats after exposing an alleged parking racket that may have siphoned off tens of billions đồng from vendors at the market. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyễn Văn Cảnh
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — The Minister of Public Security has directed competent agencies to launch an investigation relating to the news that two journalists received death threats.

The move came after a number of publications reported that threatening text messages were sent to Nguyễn Thu Trang, a journalist from Phụ Nữ Thành Phố Hồ Chí Minh (HCM City Women) newspaper, warning her not to conduct further investigation into an alleged parking racket at Hà Nội-based Long Biên wholesale market.

Nguyễn Thị Liên, a journalist at Việt Nam Television (VTV) also received similar messages.

Trang said she had reported the incident to the newspaper’s editorial board, which later referred it to the Ministry of Public Security and the Hà Nội Police to investigate and ensure the safety of the reporter and her family.

The two journalists conducted an investigation and made several reports about the parking system at the market.

An exposé by VTV in late September reported an illegal parking fee that hundreds of merchants were forced to pay market porters to be permitted to unload their cargo.

According to the report, each merchant had to pay at least VNĐ200,000 (US$9) per vehicle each day, with the fee as high as VNĐ350,000 for a big truck.

As the biggest wholesale market of agricultural products in Hà Nội, Long Biên market hosts roughly 1,000 merchants, of which at least 300 regularly need parking space to unload cargo. A merchant told VTV 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.

The huge sum of money, however, did not go to the Long Biên Market Management Committee, which only collected entrance fees of between VNĐ15,000 and VNĐ60,000.

Early in October, Hà Nội police launched an investigation into suspected asset appropriations that might involve tens of billions đồng. VNS

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