17 on trial for forging work permit applications for foreigners

By Phuoc Tuan, Yen Khanh   October 9, 2023 | 03:00 am PT
17 on trial for forging work permit applications for foreigners
17 people are on trial at the Binh Duong People's Court for forging work permit applications for foreigners, October 9, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Yen Khanh
A former director of Binh Duong Province's labor department is among 17 people on trial for violations in licensing over 3,200 work permit applications for foreigners in Vietnam.

Le Minh Quoc Cuong, former director of the province's Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs; Nguyen Thanh Trung and Dang Quoc Viet, former deputy heads of industrial parks; and 14 other people were put on trial on Monday for power abuse, forging documents, brokering illegal stay in Vietnam, as well as giving and accepting bribes.

From 2017 to March 2022, the suspects forged papers belonging to several organizations for foreigners in certain businesses to apply for work permits.

They then used these applications to request the immigration department under the Ministry of Public Security to grant the foreigners visa and temporary residence, so they could stay in Vietnam.

Investigators said the suspects purchased fake seals of several entities, including districts’ judicial departments and hospitals, then modified documents on the computer and forged signatures of officials.

The suspects had forged tens of thousands of papers, including personal histories, expert certificates and health documents, to legitimize over 3,200 work permit applications for foreigners. For each successful application, the suspect would take VND3.7-4.5 million (US$151-184) as payment.

A total of around VND20 billion of the money was then used to bribe labor officials in Binh Duong and nearby Binh Phuoc.

Several officials were also accused of abusing their power to illegally grant foreigners work permits, damaging the interests of the state regarding employment and labor policies, as well as affecting social order and safety.

Cuong in particular signed a total of 518 work permits. None of the people who received the permits were experts.

Cuong said he did what he did as he trusted his subordinates, and for "providing opportunities for businesses."

The trial is expected to last until Friday.

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