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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Vietnam cop 'beat cabbie for not running light'

Taxis wait for customers in downtown Hanoi. A Vietnamese deputy police chief attacked and threatened to shoot a taxi driver for refusing to run a red light, a report in state-controlled media said Thursday


.A Vietnamese deputy police chief attacked and threatened to shoot a taxi driver for refusing to run a red light, a report in state-controlled media said Thursday.

Cabbie Do Quoc Thai said his passenger twice asked him not to stop at traffic signals and, when he insisted on obeying the lights, seized the steering wheel and threatened to shoot him, Tuoi Tre newspaper's website reported.

He said the man then used a belt to attack him during the alleged altercation on Sunday night in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho.

Running red lights is a routine practice among Vietnamese motorists.

The incident happened outside a local police station whose officers invited the pair in for questioning, Tuoi Tre reported. It identified the passenger as Major Bui Minh Thang, second-in-command of Hau Giang province's traffic police.

"Thang threatened the police and asked one official in the room to kneel and apologise to him," the report said.

Tuoi Tre reported that it interviewed Thang who said he had been drinking wine and beer before calling the cab.

Both the traffic police in Can Tho and neighbouring Hau Giang provincial police -- which are reportedly led by Thang's father -- declined comment to AFP.

Vietnam's traffic police are regarded by citizens as notoriously corrupt.

In a report last year the US-based Human Rights Watch urged Vietnam to investigate "widespread police brutality". The group said it had documented 19 incidents of reported brutality by law enforcers over the previous year, resulting in 15 deaths.

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