Former Vietnam Register head arrested for accepting bribes

By Quoc Thang   January 17, 2023 | 04:07 am PT
Former head of the Vietnam Register Tran Ky Hinh was arrested Tuesday for allegedly accepting bribes from several vehicle registration centers.

The arrest of Hinh, 62, is the latest development in an ongoing investigation into officials across the country associated with vehicle registration centers that accepted bribes to ignore violations.

On Wednesday last week, four others were also arrested for accepting bribes: current Vietnam Register director Dang Viet Ha, acting head of the motor vehicle inspection department Tran Anh Quan, Vietnam Register deputy head Dang Tran Khanh, and registrar Pham Duc Ngoc.

Tran Ky Hinh (R), Former director of the Vietnam Register, and the registers officials Hoang Huu Thinh, Truong Duy Duc, Ho Ngoc Nam and Tran The Khanh Ho are summoned by the HCMC police, January 17, 2023. Photo courtesy of HCMC police

Tran Ky Hinh (R), former director of the Vietnam Register, and employees at HCMC registration centers Hoang Huu Thinh, Truong Duy Duc, Ho Ngoc Nam and Tran The Khanh Ho, are summoned by the HCMC police, January 17, 2023. Photo courtesy of HCMC police

From 2014 to August 2021, Hinh, as chief of the Vietnam Register, allowed Quan to receive bribes from directors of vehicle registration centers to overlook violations, according to the allegations.

During his time as chief, Hinh has also neglected to manage and monitor the Register properly, and also received bribes himself to overlook violations, investigators have charged.

Also related to the case, Hoang Huu Thinh, 31, Truong Duy Duc, 41, Ho Ngoc Nam, 34 and Tran The Khanh Ho, 34 – all employees at vehicle registration centers – were arrested for "manufacturing, trading, exchanging and providing instruments, equipment and software for illegal purposes."

After a raid of several vehicle registration centers, Ho Chi Minh City police found that Thinh, Duc, Nam and Ho had collaborated to create software to access the centers’ database to change values required to approve the registration of vehicles. They then sold that software to other vehicle registration centers for illegal purposes.

So far, 89 people, including officials and registrars, have been arrested on charges of bribery and forgery of documents. Over 20 vehicle registration centers across the country have been suspended for the investigation.

Authorities said that around 70,000 vehicles with overlooked violations have been registered illegally. The centers have issued 52,300 emissions control certificates without properly inspecting vehicles, investigators said, adding that those involved have pocketed tens of billions of dong in bribes (VND1 billion = US$43,000).

Before 2019 all vehicle registration centers were state agencies. Then the government allowed private operators to set them up if they met certain conditions issued by the Ministry of Transport.

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