Three reporters in the soup over alleged extortion

By Pham Du   July 27, 2020 | 03:00 am PT
Three reporters in the soup over alleged extortion
Tran Trong Lam in his car in Hanoi as he is caught receiving hush money to cover misconduct by a clinic chain, July 25, 2020. Photo courtesy of the police.
A man employed at a Ministry of Health's newspaper and his two colleagues have been put under investigation for extorting VND210 million ($9,140).

Police in Bac Giang Province said Monday they had detained Tran Trong Lam, 44, Tran Tuyet Nhung, 40, and Bui Thi Xuan, 41, during an extortion probe.

Lam is vice head of readers department at Suc Khoe va Doi Song (Health and Life) newspaper run by the Ministry of Health, while Nhung and Xuan are intern and reporter at a magazine under Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations.

According to authorities, Lam knew a shareholder of a four-clinic chain in northern Bac Giang, Bac Ninh, Nam Dinh, and Vinh Phuc provinces, and thus was aware of its suspected misconduct.

He subsequently asked Nhung and Xuan to demand VND210 million from the Bac Giang clinic owner in exhange for their silence over the alleged violation.

On Saturday afternoon, Lam was about to receive the sum in Hoang Mai District of Hanoi when he was caught by police.

The newspaper leaders said they did not assign Lam to oversee Bac Giang Province, issues related to local medical clinics, or investigations into the chain in question.

The three are facing charges of property appropriation. If found guilty, they could be jailed up to 20 years each.

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