Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The People’s Procuracy of Hà Nội has approved a request by the Investigative Police Agency to launch legal proceedings against three people for allegedly appropriating assets.
The prosecution is part of the investigation into the suspected parking racket at Long Biên wholesale market in Hà Nội’s Ba Đình District.
Dương Quốc Vương, 50, Nguyễn Mạnh Long, 56 and Lê Thanh Hải, 55, will be put into temporary detention pending further investigation.
They all work as porters 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 means 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.
Ttwo journalists from VTV and Phụ Nữ Thành Phố Hồ Chí Minh (HCM City Women) newspaper who conducted an investigation and made several reports about the parking system were reported to have received death threats earlier this week, warning them not to conduct further investigation.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc requested the Ministry of Public Security promptly investigate the news and strictly punish those found to have threatened the journalists.
He also asked for measures to protect journalists and those reporting crimes.
PM Phúc ordered the Hà Nội People’s Committee to report the investigation results before next Monday.
In another move, the People’s Committee of Ba Đình District decided to suspend the deputy head of the market’s management board from work and urged the management board to temporarily stop operation of two teams of porters. — VNS