Outspoken former Vietnam lawmaker facing additional criminal charge

Luu Binh Nhuong was widely known for speaking out against law enforcement agencies in the National Assembly.
By RFA Vietnamese
2023.12.26
Outspoken former Vietnam lawmaker facing additional criminal charge Police arrest former Vietnam lawmaker Luu Binh Nhuong, who is known for speaking out against law enforcement agencies.
(Nguoi Viet)

A former lawmaker who was expelled from Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party following his arrest last month is facing an additional criminal charge of “abusing power for personal benefit,” police announced on Tuesday.

Luu Binh Nhuong was widely known for speaking out against law enforcement agencies at the National Assembly during the 2016-2021 term. 

The Thai Binh Provincial Police’s Investigation Agency issued its first arrest warrant for him – for extortion charges – on Nov. 14. 

The newest charge from Thai Binh police alleges that Nhuong made hundreds of thousands of dollars by using his position “to influence others for personal gains,” police said. No further details were provided.

During an Assembly session in 2018, he criticized the Ministry of Public Security and said police had made “terrible mistakes.”

As deputy head of the Assembly’s People’s Petitions Committee, Nhuong received public praise for investigating the cases of people seeking justice, including a Hoa Binh province man who was executed in September despite international criticism of the case.

The arrest in November was related to the case of convicted criminal Pham Minh Cuong, who is a suspect in a property appropriation case. 

According to the Thai Binh police website, Nhuong helped Cuong carry out extortion activities by interfering in the work of government agencies.

Nhuong was also a member of the Assembly’s Social Affairs Committee during the 2016-2021 term. He was not recommended for re-election as a lawmaker because at age 60 he was deemed to be old.

Under General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, the Communist Party has continued an anti-corruption campaign that began in 2022 and has resulted in the discipline or dismissal of dozens of government officials.

The party’s Central Inspection Committee announced its decision to expel Nhuong on Dec. 20.

Being expelled from the party is the ultimate disgrace for a member of Vietnam’s elite class because they no longer have the privileges and protection that party membership confers, and they can be in more legal jeopardy if suspected of crimes. 

Translated by Anna Vu. Edited by Matt Reed and Malcolm Foster.

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