Tuesday , July 16 2024

Woman poses as reporter to take protection fees from truck drivers

A woman in central Vietnam has been arrested for advertising herself as a reporter and receiving protection fees to help truck drivers get away with violations.

Police in Nghe An Province said Monday they are investigating Nguyen Thi Kim Tien, 58, for “abuse of power or position to influence other persons for personal gain.”

According to the police, Tien is the director of Kim Tien Dai Phat agricultural cooperative in the province.

Since 2020, she has claimed to be a reporter who had many relationships with the authorities, and therefore could influence and intervene to ask traffic police to ignore violations committed by truck drivers.

In order to be protected, truck owners would pay VND10 million (US$410) each month to Tien and in return, each truck would get a Kim Tien Company logo placed in its front “for identification” by traffic police.

Many truck drivers, especially those who took long and overnight trips, usually violated traffic rules such as running red lights or transporting goods heavier or bigger than regulated.

If drivers get caught, either directly on the street or via security camera footage, they could have their licenses seized or revoked, which would keep them from working for several months, while the trucks’ papers would also be seized, affecting the owners’ businesses.

Trucks  that have been registered to be protected by Nguyen Thi Kim Tien are now seized at a parking lot in Nghe An Province. Photo by police

Trucks that have been registered to be “protected” by Nguyen Thi Kim Tien are now seized at a parking lot in Nghe An Province. Photo by police

Thanks to Tien’s relationship with traffic police, drivers could get away with committing violations.

Tien then established a ghost company to carry out money laundering to legalize the sum paid to her monthly by truck owners.

Police found that owners of 70 vehicles had signed contracts to pay Tien monthly fees for protection and so far, she had pocketed more than VND5 billion from them.

It is not yet clear how much she had paid traffic police.

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