Man murders nephew, fakes own death for insurance money

By Tran Hoa   May 11, 2020 | 02:07 am PT
Man murders nephew, fakes own death for insurance money
Do Van Minh, Party Secretary of a commune in Lam Dong Province, is held at a police station in the nearby Dak Nong Province. Photo courtesy of Dak Nong Police.
A commune Party secretary in Lam Dong Province murdered his wife's nephew and made it look like his own death for his family to get insurance money.

He was also seeking freedom from creditors he owed a lot of money to, police said.

Do Van Minh, 49, Secretary of the Party Committee of Lien Ha Commune, Lam Ha District, Lam Dong Province in the Central Highlands, was arrested Sunday.

Police in the nearby Dak Nong Province, where the murder happened, said at a press conference Monday that Minh had purchased a life insurance policy early last month that required an annual payment of more than VND200 million ($8,540). The policy would award his family VND18 billion ($768,000) in the event of his death.

Minh, who had run up debts of VND10 billion ($427,000), thought faking his own death would allow his wife and children to get the insurance money and free him from his creditors.

On April 20, he drove his car to a cemetery to dig up a corpse, but the attempt failed. He then hatched a far more sinister plot.

Minh has two rice fields in Dak G'long District in Dak Nong, close to where he lives in Lam Dong. Every Friday or Saturday morning, he would drive his car to visit the fields on his own and return home in the afternoon. During these trips, he would meet with 25-year-old Tran Nho Vuong, his wife's nephew, who worked for him in the fields.

On May 3, Minh visited Vuong and had the young man cook dinner for him. At 5 a.m. the following day, Minh struck his nephew twice in the forehead with an axe, killing him. He then put the body in his car, drove to Highway 28 in Dak G'Long District and deliberately crashed into a roadside marker.

He took off his watch, wore it on the victim’s hand, left the keys in the car and set it ablaze. He then walked about 1.5 kilometers away from the crime scene and drove a rental motorbike he had previously arranged to Dong Xoai Town in Binh Phuoc Province, about 231 kilometers away, and holed up in a rented place there. Further details of the crime were not revealed.

Do Van Minhs car at the crime scene, May 4, 2020. Photo by Ngoc Oanh

Do Van Minh's car is found burned in Dak Nong Province, May 4, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Oanh.

After Minh’s car was discovered along with the burnt body the same day as he crashed it, his family, assuming the body was his based on the watch and the keys, organized his funeral the following day.

However, evidence gathered by investigators made them suspicious that the scene was fabricated. After further follow up, Minh was arrested Sunday by police in Binh Phuoc Province.

The police said there was no conflict between the suspect and the victim. Minh said he loved Vuong, who was a very gentle man.

Minh's intention was to hide forever and not to return to his family, because he would get caught if he did, Dak Nong police said, adding they found no involvement of Minh’s family in the crime.

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