Vietnam jails whistleblower linked to bribery case

By VnExpress   March 27, 2017 | 07:07 pm PT
Vietnam jails whistleblower linked to bribery case
Tran Minh Loi was arrested by Dak Nong Police on March 22, 2016 on suspicion of bribery. Photo by VnExpress/Kh.Uyen
The man said he was trying to expose corruption, but his efforts seem to have backfired on him.

A court in Vietnam's Central Highlands has sentenced a Vietnamese man to four and a half years in jail for “giving bribes” in a corruption case involving police that he himself had exposed, local media reported.

Tran Minh Loi, 49, was found guilty along with five people for "giving bribes" to police in Dak Nong Province in exchange for the release of several gamblers a year ago.

The People's Court in Dak Nong opened the hearing last Wednesday against Loi and seven other people, including a policeman in Dak Mil District and a bank executive.  

Police in Dak Mil District arrested six people for gambling in January last year.

Lanh Thanh Binh, a Dak Mil police officer, suggested that the gamblers would be released if they agreed to give him and two other officers money.

One of the gamblers told his family about the offer and they told Loi, who is known by many in his province as an active whistleblower using his Facebook page “Diet giac noi xam” (Destroying domestic invaders), to upload video clips as evidence of corruption among local officials and police.

Loi advised them to have a meeting with Binh, where they secretly recorded the officer receiving VND60 million ($2,640).

Using the evidence, Loi filed complaints against three officers. Binh was arrested while the other two were suspended.

Several relatives of the gamblers were also arrested on charges of “giving bribes”.

The court gave Binh a one-and-a-half-year suspended sentence for abuse of power.

At the trial on Monday, the judge did not believe Loi’s argument that his involvement was only to expose corruption. It said Loi had used the evidence to threaten Binh first, Vietnam News Agency reported.

In the same hearing, the court found Loi guilty for bribing a bank executive in Dak Lak Province to give him a soft loan in April 2014.  

Before his arrest, Loi had collected evidence of corruption by provincial government officials and police.

Thanks to his efforts, dozens of police officers have been disciplined.

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