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7 charged with helping official flee Vietnam corruption accusations

Duong Tu Trong, 52, former vice director of the northern cit of Hai Phong's Police Department, is charged with helping his brother Duong Chi Dung, former head of Vinalines, flee Vietnam after the latter got caught up in a multimillion dollar graft case / FILE PHOTO

Vietnam's highest prosecutors' office has ratified charges against seven people, including five officials, for helping a senior official flee the country after being accused of involvement in a multimillion dollar graft case.

Duong Tu Trong, the dismissed vice director of the northern city of Hai Phong's Police Department, and his accomplices face charges of "organizing illegal transportation of people to other countries", according to the indictment issued by the Supreme People's Procuracy.

Trong, 52, was charged with hatching a plan to help his brother Duong Chi Dung, former head of the Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines) flee Vietnam in May last year.

According to the indictment, on May 17, Dung, knowing that the Ministry of Public Security had that day issued an order to arrest him over a dock scam at Vinalines, informed Trong.

Trong instructed Dung to hide at his mistress's house in Hanoi, and called Vu Tien Son and Hoang Trong Thang, both police officers in Hai Phong, to help him send his brother abroad, according to investigators.

Vu Trong Anh, another police officer in Hai Phong, also assisted Trong, prosecutors said.

Later, Thang and Pham Minh Tuan, a Hai Phong resident, picked up Dung and drove him to the northern province of Quang Ninh, so he could flee for China.

However, they changed plans and drove him to Ho Chi Minh City, from where he headed to Cambodia on May 23.

Prosecutors said the car trip from Quang Ninh to HCMC was assisted by Dong Xuan Phong, a Hai Phong customs officer who is still at large, and Tran Van Dung, another Hai Phong resident.

In Cambodia, Phong bought air tickets to Singapore for Dung and himself.

From Singapore, Dung flew to the US, but could not enter that country due to an Interpol warrant out for him.

So, he flew back to Cambodia, where he stayed for nearly three months in two different places. Trong and his accomplices sent Dung a total of US$24,000 for expenses, according to the indictment.

On September 4, Vietnamese police in collaboration with Cambodian agencies arrested Dung and extradited him to Hanoi.

Last week, the Supreme People's Procuracy also ratified charges against Dung and nine others, mostly Vinalines executives and employees, over the purchase of a used floating dock from abroad at an unreasonably high price in 2008, causing a loss of over VND366 billion ($17 million) to the company.

Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported that prosecutors have asked Ministry of Public Security investigators to clarify how Dung knew in advance of his arrest.

During the investigation, Dung had been promoted as head of the Vietnam Maritime Administration.

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