Death sentence sought for two cop killers in Hanoi clash

By Pham Du   September 9, 2020 | 12:24 am PT
Death sentence sought for two cop killers in Hanoi clash
Defendants sit by police officers at the trial over a clash that left three policemen dead in Hanoi, September 9, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Nam Anh.
Prosecutors have recommended death for two men involved in the murder of three policemen in Hanoi's Dong Tam Commune earlier this year.

They said Le Dinh Cong, 56, and his brother Le Dinh Chuc, 40, deserved capital punishment for murdering the policemen.

The prosecutors have sought a life sentence for Le Dinh Doanh, 32, Cong’s son, jail terms of 16-18 years for Bui Viet Hieu, 77, and Nguyen Quoc Tien, 40, and 14-16 years for Nguyen Van Tuyen, 46.

For 19 others, aged 29-68, the prosecutors have proposed that the charge is changed from "murder" to "resisting personnel on public duties." They face between 18 months and seven years in prison.

The four remaining defendants, between 20 and 67 years of age, had already been charged with "resisting personnel on public duties" and the proposed sanction for them is suspended sentences of 15-18 months.

The 29 defendants are standing trial over a deadly clash this January in Hanoi’s Dong Tam Commune, My Duc District, that left three policemen and a civilian dead. All the defendants are residents of Hoanh and Dong Mit villages.

The indictment says that Le Dinh Kinh, the 84-year-old civilian killed in the clash, his son, Le Dinh Cong and other people set up a "group of consensus" to re-occupy and divide a land lot in the commune’s Senh field among themselves. The land had been allocated for defense purposes.

In November 2019, the Ministry of Defense prepared a plan to build a fence to protect the Mieu Mon airport that would use part of Dong Tam land.

Learning about this plan, Kinh directed Cong in December 2019 to discuss with members of the group the purchase of grenades and preparation of weapons to attack the police.

According to the Hanoi People's Procuracy, this is a "especially serious" criminal case because the defendants were involved in a clash wherein there policemen on duty were killed.

This was an act of "organized, gangster-like, brutally killing of people" under Kinh’s leadership, the prosecutors said.

"The police force lost three officers, their families lost three members, but we believe their sacrifice was not meaningless as it has contributed to the peace in the society and awakened the conscience of criminals," they said.

Explaining the change in charge for 19 defendants, the prosecutors said they had all engaged in crime to some extent, joining each other in making weapons, contributing money to buy grenades and so on as guided by Kinh and his sons.

During the trial that began Monday, the defendants accepted their wrongdoing and expressed remorse. Prosecutors said they had been provoked and drawn into Kinh's group with promises of land, and they had blindly trusted and followed the group’s leaders.

In essence, they were not fierce criminals and "did not directly engage in acts leading to the death of three police officers," they said.

In early July 2017, local government inspectors announced that the land in Dong Tam has always belonged to the military. The inspectors also asked Hanoi police to work with the defense ministry to punish individuals for wrongful management and use of military land. The inspectors’ conclusions were not accepted by some people in Dong Tam.

On December 31, some units of the Ministry of National Defense, in collaboration with local authorities, began building a fence for the Mieu Mon airport, which covers more than 236 hectares in communes of My Luong, Tran Phu, Dong Lac in Chuong My District and Dong Tam in My Duc District.

To oppose this, some people in the "consensus group" in Dong Tam stopped the truck carrying materials to the site.

In the early hours on January 9, when the police arrived at the gate of Hoanh Village, about 50 meters from Kinh’s house, the group allegedly used handmade weapons to attack the police force, causing three police officers to fall into a pit near Kinh’s house. The indictment said Le Dinh Chuc and Le Dinh Doanh poured gasoline into the pit and set it alight, killing the three policemen.

The authorized law enforcement personnel found Kinh holding a grenade and calling on others to resist, so they shot him. Kinh was wounded and died later.

Investigations found that Kinh and four others were the masterminds who directed the violent protests and pushed others to kill the policemen.

The indictment said the police shooting Kinh dead was a "necessary and legal" action.

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