The suspected murderer Đỗ Văn Minh at the police station. VNA/VNS Photo
ĐẮK NÔNG The provincial People’s Procuracy in the Central Highlands province of Đắk Nông on Tuesday launched criminal proceedings against a commune official who allegedly killed his wife's nephew, then staged a vehicle fire to cover up the murder and claim insurance.
The suspect Đỗ Văn Minh, 49, residing in Tân Hà Commune, Lâm Hà District, Lâm Đồng Commune, was secretary of the Liên Hà Commune Party Committee. He was detained for 117 days.
On May 4, a burned pickup truck was found on National Highway 28 in Đắk Som Commune, Đắk G’Long District, Đắk Nông Commune. A severely burned corpse was found inside.
Initial investigations found the vehicle belonged to Đỗ Văn Minh and the body was Trần Nho Vương, 25 years old, a nephew of Minh’s wife.
On May 10, Minh was caught in Đồng Xoài City, the central province of Bình Phước.
Minh admitted to police that he faced debts of VNĐ10 billion (US$430,000) for losses incurred through trading coffee online. He bought a life insurance policy for nearly VNĐ200 million (US$8,500) and planned to fake his own death to claim a payout of nearly VNĐ20 billion.
Initially, he planned to steal the body of a cancer patient from a local cemetery. However, when he touched the coffin, he got cold feet.
On April 27, Minh bought a used motorbike and left it at a house near the location he planned to torch the car.
On May 2, Minh bought 120 litres of petrol and stored it in his car. On May 3, Minh visited Vương’s house in hamlet 5, Đắk Hà Commune. The men had a meal and later, Minh killed Vương with an axe.
Vương’s body then was place in Minh’s car. Minh drove to National Highway 28, crashing into a pillar. Vương’s body was placed in the driver’s seat together with Minh’s personal items.
After setting fire to the car with the body inside, Minh walked to get his motorbike and escaped to Bình Phước Province.
As the body was severely burned, Minh’s family and authorities initially thought Minh died in the crash.
His funeral was organised while Vương’s mother started to worry about her son’s absence.
Police officers eventually suspected that it was a staged accident given evidence they collected.
Minh was arrested in Bình Phước on May 10.
At the police station, Minh claimed he did not have any conflict with the victim.
The suspect also admitted to having bought a new SIM card and pretended to be another person to text his son, in what he said was an attempt to comfort the child over his ‘death’.
Minh added he had watched his own funeral as he had the password to access the CCTV system installed at his home. VNS