Retired Vietnamese general under fire for lashing out at traffic cop

By Cuu Long   July 18, 2017 | 10:37 am GMT+7

He was filmed insulting a traffic officer after his car was stopped for speeding.

A retired general from the Vietnamese People's Army may be facing punishment after a video of him threatening a traffic officer was posted on the internet and went viral.

Lieutenant General Vo Van Liem, 62, was filmed disobeying, insulting and threatening a traffic officer when his car was stopped for speeding last Friday.

retired-vietnamese-general-under-fire-for-lashing-out-at-traffic-cop

A still image shows Lt. Gen. Liem waving his military ID card during the argument. 

Police from the southern province of Can Tho said their traffic officers were patrolling on Vo Van Kiet Street when they clocked a speeding car. The car was allegedly traveling at 81 kilometers (50 miles) per hour despite the street's speed limit of 70 kph.

However, the driver initially refused to stop when signaled to pull over by officers, prompting Lieutenant Nguyen Van Thanh to give chase. Even after he was forced to stop, the driver refused to get out of the car as instructed.

The passenger sitting next to the driver then started arguing with Lt. Thanh in an aggressive tone and threatened to have him and his director fired while waving an ID card. The man also demanded to see evidence of his driver's violation, but then told him to drive off before officers could show him the results from their speed gun, according to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

Speaking to the press, Lt. Gen. Liem admitted to being the person in the video, but denied having violated traffic laws.

“I was in a rush that day because my mother was receiving emergency care at home," he said. "My car was traveling at 62 kilometers per hour, which I saw clearly on the speedometer. Suddenly a traffic officer ran out from a restaurant and stopped the car.” 

“The officer said my car had been traveling above the speed limit, so I asked if he had any evidence because accusing me without it is unacceptable,” he explained, asserting that Lt. Thanh couldn't produce any evidence at the time.

The retired general claimed he showed his military ID card to explain that he lived in the area so if he did indeed violate traffic laws they could just fine him later as he was in a rush.

Regarding his aggressive tone, Liem explained he was angry with the traffic officer's attitude in an earlier part of the conversation that was not caught on camera, according to Infonet.

“The traffic officer claimed I had been drinking, driving my 'girlfriend' around and disobeying officers on duty. However, I have a blocked artery so I can't drink, and the person in the car was my wife,” the news site quoted him as saying.

He also claimed he told his driver not to get out because Lt. Thanh seemed to be working with another person not wearing a police uniform, whose behavior he found strange.

When questioned about his threat to have Lt. Thanh's director fired, which can be heard in the video, Lt. Gen. Liem said he misspoke and only meant to say he would call the director to have the officer fired.

However, Can Tho police officials said the traffic officers were right to stop the car. The driver will be penalized by Binh Thuy District police for speeding and disobeying traffic officers.

Regarding Lt. Gen. Liem's actions, Can Tho police have requested instructions from the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Public Security as the case involves a retired high-ranking military officer.

Lt. Gen. Liem held the positions of Deputy Commissar of the 9th Military Region and Deputy Chairman of the Inspection Committee of the Central Military Commission before his retirement in 2015.