Hanoi chairman arrested for appropriating state secret documents

By Ba Do, Vo Hai, Pham Du   August 28, 2020 | 05:29 am PT
Vietnamese police arrested Hanoi People’s Committee Chairman Nguyen Duc Chung for alleged appropriation of documents containing state secrets.

The move came more than two weeks after Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc signed a decision to suspend Chung for 90 days.

On Friday night, authorities executed a search warrant for Chung's residence in Hanoi's Dong Da District and his workplace at the Hanoi People's Committee.

Law enforcement officers outside Chungs resident in Hanoi, August 28, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Du.

Law enforcement officers outside Nguyen Duc Chung's residence in Hanoi, August 28, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Du.

Chung's detainment is part of investigations into the alleged misappropriation of state secret documents in the case involving Hanoi tech giant Nhat Cuong Technical Services Trading Co. Ltd.

Police had arrested three suspects late July in the same case: Chung's driver Nguyen Hoang Trung, 37; Nguyen Anh Ngoc, 46, deputy head of the editorial department at the city's People’s Committee; and Pham Quang Dung, 37, an officer of the anti-corruption police department at the Ministry of Public Security. The trio are being investigated for the same charges as Chung.

Earlier, To An Xo, spokesman of the Ministry of Public Security, had said that investigators were clarifying Chung's involvement in two other cases in Hanoi.

One case involves "smuggling, accounting violations, laundering and bidding violations causing serious consequences" at the Nhat Cuong Company. A total of 28 people including several Hanoi officials are already facing charges in the case.

Law enforcement officers execute a search warrant at the residence of Hanoi mayor Nguyen Duc Chung.

Nhat Cuong general director Bui Quang Huy, who is wanted by police, is accused of leading an organized crime group responsible for cross-border smuggling and maintaining two sets of accounting books to conceal trillions of dong worth of revenues (VND1 trillion = $43.17 million).

The other case that Chung is allegedly involved in regards "violations in the use and management of public assets causing waste and losses" at Hanoi People's Committee and related agencies.

In this case, Vo Tien Hung, general director of state-owned Hanoi Sewerage and Drainage Company, was detained on August 20 for alleged violations in the monopolistic acquisition of Redoxy-3C, a water cleaning agent, to clean up over 100 lakes in Hanoi.

Chung, 53, born in the northern Hai Duong Province, has a doctorate in law and a bachelor’s degree in economics. He spent several years working for the social order related crime investigation unit at Hanoi Police Department.

Hanoi chairman Nguyen Duc Chung. Photo by VnExpress/Vo Hai.

Hanoi Chairman Nguyen Duc Chung. Photo by VnExpress/Vo Hai.

He climbed from deputy head to head of the unit before holding the position of deputy director of Hanoi Police Department and heading its investigation agency.

In September 2012, as a major-general, he became director of the city police department.

In late 2015, he was appointed chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee to complete the 2011-2016 term after his predecessor Nguyen The Thao resigned.

In mid-2016, Chung was re-elected into the position for the 2016-2021 term.

In his speech on taking office, Chung pledged to "act resolutely, creatively and closely with all grassroots (stakeholders) in the system, stay close to the people, devotedly serve the people, seriously listen to people's opinions and aspirations."

Some highlights of his tenure include Hanoi successfully striking a deal to host the nation's first Formula 1 race, which has been slated for November this year after months of delay due to the pandemic, and expansion of the pedestrian-only zone around the iconic Sword Lake.

Chung also made critical calls to help Hanoi control the Covid-19 outbreak, bringing the city out of being a locality that led the nation in number of infections and keeping it clean of new community transmissions for 105 straight days.

However, Hanoi still has many issues left unresolved, some that have worsened, including air pollution, urban flooding, traffic jams, renovation of old apartment buildings and complicated land disputes, with a notable one being the case in Dong Tam Commune of My Duc District that led to the deaths of two civilians and three police officers last January.

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