Prosecutors apologize to Vietnamese-American businessman after 34 years of wrongful accusation

By Ngoc Tai   May 28, 2024 | 11:15 pm PT
Prosecutors apologize to Vietnamese-American businessman after 34 years of wrongful accusation
Vietnamese-American business Lam Hong Son is apologized to by An Giang and Long An prosecutors for a wrongful accusation, May 28, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Tai
A Vietnamese-American businessman was publicly apologized to by Vietnamese prosecutors after being detained twice for a crime he did not commit.

Lam Hong Son, 68, received a public apology from representatives of the An Giang and Long An procuracy in southern Vietnam, as well as the police forces of the two provinces, in his hometown An Giang's Chau Doc City on Tuesday.

Son was detained twice from 1990 to 1991, when he, along with the An Giang police commanding committee, signed contracts to open an animal feed manufacturing facility. As business went by, Son was accused of fraud and was arrested. When he was released, he got arrested again for abusing trust to appropriate property.

However, prosecutors could not gather enough evidence to charge him.

At the People’s Committee of Vinh My Ward on Tuesday, An Giang prosecutors affirmed that Son did not appropriate property, and what happened was simply a tax debt incident that was not severe enough to warrant a criminal charge.

"This is a mistake by prosecuting authorities and prosecutors of An Giang," a representative said, adding that the law back then was not as comprehensive as it is today.

Prosecutors said that the damage incurred to Son's physical and mental health due to the wrongful accusations and detainment would be hard to compensate. They wish that their apologies would help ease the pain that Son and his family had suffered.

Following the case, prosecutors and police officers of An Giang and Long An have also owed up to their responsibilities, and promised to be more careful in the future.

"This is a happy day, I couldn't hold back my tears," Son said.

He added that his family were Vietnamese with Chinese origin, and that they were renowned businesspeople. His father always told him to contribute to his hometown An Giang, so he decided to open his business in Chau Doc.

"I did not expect that I would be wrongfully accused, arrested and be treated as a criminal for 34 years. I only received the decision to stop the case from An Giang prosecutors earlier this year," Son said.

Son said his family’s life had turned upside down since the day he was wrongfully arrested. After getting out of prison, all his properties were gone, and he had to sell his house in HCMC’s District 1 to support his family.

"Throughout many years of trying to clear my name, I’ve always believed in justice," Son said.

He is now performing procedures to ask for compensation of VND6 billion ($235,710).

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