Hanoi police on Tuesday started criminal proceedings against three men suspected of posing as journalists to blackmail 20 construction material firms in Hanoi and neighbouring provinces.
|From left to right- Nguyen Xuan Phong, Ngo Van Ha and Hoa Anh Tuan pretended to be reporters to blackmail construction material traders in Hanoi and neighbouring provinces since May this year. — Photo tienphong.vn|
The three suspects – Ngo Van Ha, 41 years old, Nguyen Xuan Phong, 40 and Hoa Anh Tuan, 39, all residing in Hanoi’s Cau Giay District, used to work for or contribute to specialised magazines based in Hanoi. Ha was a deputy editor-in-chief of a magazine but he was dismissed and is now unemployed.
The suspects were arrested after being caught threatening a sand mining and construction material trading firm in Hanoi’s Phu Xuyen District.
They admitted to police that since middle May this year, they together started visiting sand-mining firms based along the Red River in Hanoi, introducing themselves as reporters or Government's construction inspectors and then pointed out the firms' violations.
They threatened the firms and suggested that they would not report the violations if the firms gave them cash.
According to the police, between May and July, the pretending reporters allegedly swindled more than VND50 million (US$2,100) from about 20 firms in Hanoi and neighbouring provinces of Hung Yen, Ha Nam, Hai Duong, Bac Giang, Bac Ninh and Vinh Phuc.