Can Tho prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for a police officer accused of beating a drunk suspect to death.
Bui Duc Nghia will be placed under criminal investigation after 29-year-old Nguyen Chi Hieu died from multiple injuries sustained while in police custody in O Mon District in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho last August.
Nghia will face charges of “intentionally inflicting injuries or causing harm to the health of other persons leading to human death,” a crime punishable by up to 15 years of imprisonment under Vietnam’s Penal Code.
Investigators are also questioning one of Nghia’s colleagues suspected of involvement in Hieu’s death.
Initial findings are that the district traffic police asked Hieu to stop for an alcohol test after finding him driving under the influence.
However, Hieu failed to submit to the test and refused to sign the police report on his violation. He was taken to the police station and beaten ferociously for not cooperating with the police.
He returned home the next morning and felt pain all over his body, and was taken to the local hospital where he was found to have sustained severe injuries.
He died on August 13, four days after being interrogated by the police. His family demanded an investigation into his death.
Several instances of suspects dying in police custody have been reported across Vietnam in recent years.
Five policemen in Ninh Thuan Province last month were jailed for three to seven years for beating a male prisoner to death.
In 2016, a court in Ho Chi Minh City sentenced a former traffic police officer to 12 years in prison for asking thugs to beat a traffic violator to death, following an argument.
In late 2012, the World Bank released the results of a survey in which 5,460 Vietnamese respondents overwhelmingly identified the traffic police as the most corrupt group of individuals in the country.