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Former Vietnamese diplomats in Japan, Malaysia arrested over pandemic flight scandal

By Pham Du   October 4, 2022 | 03:46 am PT
Former Vietnamese diplomats in Japan, Malaysia arrested over pandemic flight scandal
Vietnamese citizens on a repatriation flight from Singapore, May 31, 2020. Photo courtesy of Vietnam Airlines
Former Vietnamese diplomats in Japan and Malaysia were arrested Tuesday for their involvement in the Covid-19 repatriation flight bribery scandal.

Nguyen Hong Ha, 58, of the Consulate General of Vietnam in Osaka, Japan, is to be investigated for accepting bribes, said spokesman for the Ministry of Public Security To An Xo.

Le Ngoc Anh, 34, former official at the Vietnamese Embassy in Malaysia, faces power abuse charge, Xo said.

Hoang Anh Kiem, 44, a freelancer, has also been detained to be investigated for giving bribes.

The arrests were the latest developments of a bribery scandal regarding Covid-19 repatriation flights last year, which has seen several high-ranking officials at different ministries and government entities being arrested and investigated.

After eight months of investigations, 22 people have been arrested, including Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs To Anh Dung, who was arrested in April.

Vietnam organized around 400 repatriation flights and brought back over 70,000 citizens from over 60 countries and territories after the pandemic struck.

Many people had to buy very expensive tickets and undergo troublesome procedures to get a flight home.

Several officials have been arrested on accusations of taking and giving bribes, including officials at the Ministry of Public Security, the Health Ministry, the Transport Ministry, the Government Office, and businesspeople.

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