Vietnamese reporter arrested for blackmailing Chinese firm

By Pham Du   December 19, 2018 | 05:07 pm PT
Vietnamese reporter arrested for blackmailing Chinese firm
Dao Thi Thanh Binh, 40, is held at a police station for blackmailing $70,000 from a Chinese company. Photo by VnExpress/Minh Thuy
Bac Giang police on Tuesday detained a female journalist who extorted money after threatening to expose a Chinese firm’s violations.

Dao Thi Thanh Binh, 40, with the Thuong hieu va Cong luan (Brand and Public Opinion) newspaper, has been placed under criminal investigation for receiving $70,000 as bribe from the Chinese-owned Luxshare ICT Vietnam Company in the northern province of Bac Giang.

Binh reportedly asked for permission from the editorial board of the newspaper, which belongs to the Hanoi-based Vietnam Association for Anti-Counterfeiting and Trademark Protection, to move to Bac Giang, a three hour drive away, to collect information and expose violations relating to the housing area for workers of the Chinese company. The area was reportedly built without authorities' permit.

She demanded $100,000 from the company in return for not exposing its violations. Later, she lowered her price to $70,000 and the company agreed to pay her.

On Tuesday, as the Chinese public relations director of the company was paying Binh, police officers stepped in and caught her red-handed.

Binh was arrested and faces the charge of "extortion of property," a crime that could send her to jail for up to 20 years under Vietnam’s Penal Code.

Last April, Le Duy Phong, 33, a former senior reporter for Giao duc Vietnam (Vietnam Education) newspaper, was sentenced to three years in jail by a court in the northern Yen Bai Province for blackmailing a top provincial official in exchange for not exposing his villa complex. Phong demanded and received VND200 million ($8,800).

A survey conducted by the Berlin-based Transparency International last year, covering more than 20,000 people in 16 Asia Pacific economies, found the highest rates of bribery in Vietnam and India.

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