Vietnam Journalist Jailed for Exposing Premier League Betting Scandal

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:
Oct/15/2008

A Vietnamese court has found Nguyen Viet Chien, 56, "guilty of abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the state" while another journalist, Nguyen Van Hai, 33, was sentenced to two years of re- education without detention after he showed remorse for his crimes.

Both reporters helped expose how millions of pounds worth of foreign development funds meant for bridges and roads were used instead for Vietnam transport ministry officials to gamble on English Premiership football games.

In 2006 the transport minister, Dao Dinh Binh, was forced to resign and his deputy, Nguyen Viet Tun, was arrested but later cleared of all charges. Eight lesser officials were ultimately convicted and jailed.

Also on trial were the reporters alleged sources, Retired police General Pham Xuan Quac, 62, who received only an official warning, and Lieutenant Colonel Dinh Van Huynh, 50, who was jailed for one year.

According to reports, Vietnam is in the midst of cracking down on the media and on internal dissent as it struggles to maintain its authority while the economy falters. Cries of corruption have been growing louder as economic pain becomes enhanced.

Police even briefly detained and assaulted the American bureau chief for The Associated Press as he covered highly sensitive protests during September.

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Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com

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