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Former Vietnamese coast guard leadership charged with embezzlement

Authorities in Vietnam have arrested seven coast guard officers, including the former commander and the top Communist Party leader, for allegedly embezzling the military branch’s funds in the country’s latest high-profile corruption case, media reports said.

In mid-April arrests announced on Monday included former coast guard commander of the, Lt. Gen. Nguyen Van Son, and the former political commissar, Lt. Gen. Hoang Van Dong.

Both men had previously been confined to their homes after being dismissed from the coast guard and all other party positions in October 2021 during a review of the coast guard’s Vietnamese Communist Party leadership

The review found that between 2015 and 2020 the leadership “lacked responsibility, leadership, direction, examination and monitoring.” It reported serious violations in financial management, the procurement of technical equipment, and the prevention and control of smuggling.

Also charged with embezzlement after being dismissed after the review were the former deputy commander and chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Pham Kim Hau; the former deputy commander, Maj. Gen. Bui Trung Dung; the former deputy political commissar, Maj. Gen. Doan Bao Quyet; and the former deputy commander, Full Col. Nguyen Van Hung; and the deputy head of the Finance Department, Sen. Col. Bui Van Hoe.

The Vietnamese Coast Guard is a young force. It was established in 1998 but has grown rapidly.

Amid rising tensions in the South China Sea, Vietnam has prioritized maritime security, and the Vietnamese navy and coastguard have received large investments from the government budget. However, observers say that big money and the lack of transparency has led to rampant corruption in the system.

The sacking of the coast guard generals could serve as a warning signal for authorities to tighten control over government funds invested in law enforcement, analysts say.

The Ministry of Defense’s Criminal Investigation Agency, meanwhile, has been conducting another investigation related to oil and gas management violations. The agency has prosecuted 14 people for taking bribes, including Maj. Gen. Le Xuan Thanh and Maj. Gen. Le Van Minh.

Translated by Anna Vu. Written in English by Eugene Whong.