Vietnamese man sentenced to 3 years in jail for threatening to murder officials

By Staff reporters   January 16, 2018 | 05:17 pm GMT+7
Vietnamese man sentenced to 3 years in jail for threatening to murder officials
Nguyen Trong Phuong stands trial in Bac Ninh Province on Tuesday for threatening the province leaders for banning his company from river dredging. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Du

The man's sand dredging firm had been shut down while others had been allowed to continue operating illegally.

A court in northern Vietnam sentenced a man to three years in jail on Tuesday for sending threatening messages to the government leader and police chief of Bac Ninh Province after his company was restricted from river dredging over environmental concerns.

Nguyen Trong Phuong, 38, was convicted of threatening to murder the officials at a trial held in the northern province.

An investigation found that Phuong had opened and registered a sand dredging company but had been banned from operating.

After learning that another had been allowed to continue dredging, he felt that he had been treated unfairly and sent 10 “terrorizing” messages to the two officials one night in January last year.

He thought the messages would either scare the leaders into issuing permits for all projects, or shut down those that were still being allowed to operate.

Phuong’s threats helped uncover a bigger scandal. It turned out that some officials from the Ministry of Transport had allowed sand dredging to continue on local rivers, despite the province’s call for an end to the operation in 2015.

Bac Ninh officials said sand dredging had eroded local rivers, forcing the province to spend VND30 billion ($1.3 million) fixing the problem.

Some officials from the transport ministry were subsequently suspended, but further action has not been reported.

Vietnam is facing a shortage of construction sand due to over-exploitation, and domestic supplies could be depleted by 2020 given the current rate of excavation, according to the Ministry of Construction.

The country will need 2.1-2.3 billion cubic meters of natural sand between 2016 and 2020, more than its reserves of around 2 billion cubic meters, it said.

 
 
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