Doctor, officials arrested for Covid vaccine bribes

By Quoc Thang, Phuoc Tuan, Yen Khanh   September 7, 2021 | 03:28 am PT
Doctor, officials arrested for Covid vaccine bribes
Police officers inspect the workplace of Truong Manh Thao, a ward official in Ho Chi Minh City, for collecting money for Covid-19 vaccine shots. Photo by VnExpress/Nhat Vy
Three people including a doctor have been arrested in HCMC and Binh Duong for charging people money to administer Covid-19 vaccine shots that are supposed to be free.

Truong Manh Thao, 37, a ward official in HCMC’s District 6, was arrested by local police Tuesday for allegedly abusing power in performance of official duties.

Thao is believed to have "cooperated" with about 20 people not included among prioritized groups for Covid-19 vaccination. He arranged to give them Covid-19 vaccine shots of their choice in return for cash or in kind payments.

He has admitted that he earned over VND10 million ($439.59) from the deals, along with other valuables.

Earlier, on Monday, Nguyen Thai Hiep, 31, a doctor at a medical center in Binh Duong's Tan Uyen Town, and Le Van Thang, 24, a guard, were also detained by local police.

Hiep and Thao will be investigated for similar offences while Thang will be probed for abuse of influence over an office holder for personal gain.

Hiep is accused of having cooperated with Thang to collect money from those who wish to receive Covid-19 vaccine shots. Thang, through a third party, allegedly agreed to let 17 people, who were either unvaccinated workers and those not included in prioritized groups, to enter the medical center to be vaccinated for VND600,000 each.

Thang invited 10 people in for the shots on August 24 while the other seven were yet to get theirs. He was caught red-handed while receiving VND10.2 million from a third party.

Thang has confessed to have cooperated with doctor Hiep. The pair had vaccinated 42 others the same way and collected VND17.5 million, police said.

Hiep's response is yet to be made public.

At a governmental meeting with local authorities on Covid-19 prevention last month, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh had reiterated that Covid-19 vaccines would "absolutely" be available for free.

Vietnam has administered at least one Covid-19 vaccine shot to more than 22 million people. Over 3.3 million people have been fully vaccinated.

Prioritized groups for Covid-19 vaccination include frontline workers in the coronavirus fight, like doctors, nurses, police officers and reporters.

go to top