Police have broken up two rings that provided truck drivers with “preferential” logos, with which drivers would allegedly be overlooked by police for overloading or other violations in Ho Chi Minh City and localities nearby.
Police from the Ministry of Public Security raided many houses in the city on Wednesday and arrested seven members from both rings that said such logos, when stuck on the windshield of a truck, could help drivers avoid being penalized by traffic police when they committed violations.
That means that when seeing such logos, which contain certain words or images, traffic police officers would allegedly overlook technical violations, including making changes to truck bodies, carrying goods beyond allowable loads, or driving on unsafe worn tires.
Among the seven detained is Le Thi Cam Van, a 33-year-old woman of the city’s Binh Chanh District, who led one of the two rings.
Le Thi Cam Van is seen at the investigation police agency’s office.
The leader of the other ring, Tran Van Thoi, 39, also of Binh Chanh, was still at large and is being hunted by police.
The seven detainees are being investigated on alleged charges of “taking advantage of one’s influence over persons with positions and powers to seek personal benefits,” pursuant to Article 291 of the Penal Code, said Major General Tien, from the ministry.
The two rings also suggested that drivers additionally use another logo showing an object which looks like the sun for an extra charge of VND500,000-1 million ($ 22.2-44.4) per month so that they could enjoy “preferential treatment” from traffic police in many different localities at the same time.
One of the ‘preferential’ logos for trucks.
In offering to sell such logos, Van and Thoi told their customers that they had close relations with many officials in the traffic police sector, Major Gen. Tien said.
Every day, members of the two rings offered to sell such logos to drivers by telling them that they wouldn’t be punished for overloading or other violations while travelling in Ho Chi Minh City and its neighboring provinces of Binh Duong and Dong Nai.
The two rings had operated since early this year, and together they sold a total of about 1,000 logos per month for VND2.5-3 billion ($133,530), according to investigators.
Police have seized VND2 billion ($89,000) in cash from both rings, along with items related to the case.
Another ‘preferential’ logo for trucks.
Investigation into “collusion” underway
“These rings said they had close relations with law enforcement agencies, but we have yet to detect any relations between them and traffic police or other forces. We are expanding our investigations,” Major Gen. Tien said.
“We are clarifying whether Van had given bribes to any law enforcement officers and how much,” he added.
The Ministry of Public Security’s leaders have ordered that the case be strictly investigated and that anyone found colluding with such rings be strictly punished, the official said.
This truck uses two ‘preferential’ logos at the same time.
He added that many other similar rings are operating across the country, and the ministry and the Ministry of Transport have asked concerned agencies to try their best to crack down on them.
A source told VnExpress newspapers that before arresting the seven people in the two rings, investigators had identified a number of persons involved in the operation of the rings and had reported them to competent agencies for directions.
“Given the fact that the investigation agency is investigating the detainees under Article 291 of the Penal Code, investigators could have obtained evidence of collusion between the sellers of such logos and law enforcement officers,” lawyer Pham Cong Ut, from the Ho Chi Minh City, commented.|