Two Hanoi market extortionists arrested

By Phuong Son   January 6, 2019 | 10:25 am GMT+7
Two Hanoi market extortionists arrested
Aerial view of vegetable stalls by Long Bien fruit market in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo by Shutterstock/Tran Thanh Tam

Two men accused of running an extortion racket at Hanoi's Long Bien market have been arrested.

Nguyen Kim Hung and Nguyen Huu Tien are being investigated for charges of extortion, said Nguyen Van Vien, deputy director of Hanoi’s police department.

Hung and Tien are believed to be part of an extortion group that operated in the Long Bien market in Ba Dinh District.

Hung, the ringleader, and four others allegedly forced merchants in the market to pay them VND250,000 ($10) per turn per car to be allowed into a parking lot. Whoever did not pay would be physically assaulted and even receive death threats.

A merchant pays one of the extortionists. Photo courtesy of Vietnam Television

A merchant pays one of the extortionists. Photo courtesy of Vietnam Television

Last December, Hanoi police had detained three other suspects related to the case. Duong Quoc Vuong, 50, Nguyen Manh Long, 56 and Le Thanh Hai, 55, are also being investigated for extortion.

The group was exposed by reporters from the national television broadcaster Vietnam Television (VTV) last September in a televised news report. The report prompted authorities to launch a criminal investigation at the Long Bien market in October to look for signs of extortion.

However, as December came and there was no progress on the case, reporters from VTV and another local newspaper planned to return to the market to gather more information. On December 2, two reporters received death threats to them and their families through anonymous text messages from the same phone number.

Nguyen Kim Hung has been accused of running an extortion racket at Long Bien Market

Nguyen Kim Hung has been accused of running an extortion racket at Long Bien market. Photo courtesy of Vietnam Television

The Long Bien market has thousands of shops doing business daily. At least 300 constantly require parking lots to load and unload their products.

 
 
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