UPDATED AT 1:25 a.m. ET ON 1-18-2022
Vietnam police are continuing their investigation into corruption at the national agency responsible for vehicle registration.
On Tuesday, Ho Chi Minh City Police Department’s investigation agency said it arrested Tran Ky Hinh, former director of the Vietnam Register, for taking bribes from registration center directors across the country between 2014 and 2021, the Bao Giao Thong news site reported.
Police said 62-year-old Hinh, either directly or through the acting head of the Motor Vehicle Inspection Department Tran Anh Quan, took money in return for signing registration certificates for vehicles that weren’t roadworthy.
Also Tuesday, police in Hoa Binh province charged Trinh Thanh Cong, the director of a local motor vehicle registration center, and nine subordinates with accepting bribes. Police said they forced vehicle owners to pay the equivalent of U.S.$4 to U.S.$13 to inspectors, who then overlooked faults in order to pass the vehicles.
Last year, Cong received as much as U.S.$427 a day from his subordinates, police said.
The Vietnam Register has suspended operations at 30 registration and inspection centers across the country due to the ongoing investigation.
Register Director Dang Viet Ha was charged with bribery on Jan. 11.
Five days later, Transport Minister Nguyen Van Thang spoke at a conference called to review the work of the Vietnam Register. He described the widespread corruption as “painful,” calling the monthly bribes “criminal protection.”
Translated by RFA Vietnamese. Edited by Mike Firn.
Updated to source Bao Giao Thong.