From left to right- Nguyễn Xuân Phong, Ngô Văn Hạ and Hoa Anh Tuấn pretended to be reporters to blackmail construction material traders in Hà Nội and neighbouring provinces since May this year. — Photo tienphong.vn
HÀ NỘI — Hà Nội police on Tuesday started criminal proceedings against three men suspected of posing as journalists to blackmail 20 construction material firms in Hà Nội and neighbouring provinces.
The three suspects – Ngô Văn Hạ, 41 years old, Nguyễn Xuân Phong, 40 and Hoa Anh Tuấn, 39, all residing in Hà Nội’s Cầu Giấy District, used to work for or contribute to specialised magazines based in Hà Nội. Hạ was a deputy editor-in-chief of a magazine but he was dismissed and is now unemployed.
The suspects were arrested after being caught threatening a sand mining and construction material trading firm in Hà Nội’s Phú Xuyên District.
They admitted to police that since middle May this year, they together started visiting sand-mining firms based along the Red River in Hà Nội, introducing themselves as reporters or Government's construction inspectors and then pointed out the firms' violations.
They threatened the firms and suggested that they would not report the violations if the firms gave them cash.
According to the police, between May and July, the pretending reporters allegedly swindled more than VNĐ50 million (US$2,100) from about 20 firms in Hà Nội and neighbouring provinces of Hưng Yên, Hà Nam, Hải Dương, Bắc Giang, Bắc Ninh and Vĩnh Phúc. — VNS