Vietnam launches crooked cop hotline amid corruption crackdown

December 4, 2018 - 7:12 PM
Air Force News employee
Mary Losleben, an Air Force News employee, talks on a hotline phone in the Air Force News Broadcasting Service conference room. The hotline was set up to handle calls regarding Air Force personnel involved in Operation Desert Storm. (Picryl/File photo)

HANOI — Vietnam has set up a telephone hotline for people to report accusations of police corruption, state media said on Tuesday, amid a crackdown on graft in the Southeast Asian country that has jailed dozens of officials.

A court last Friday sentenced two senior police officials to up to 10 years in prison for running an underground online gambling ring which illegally raised hundreds of millions of dollars.

“Reports will be discounted if providers do not declare their full name, address and telephone number, or supply insufficient, vague or unsubstantiated information,” the official Vietnam News Agency (VNA) said, citing a Ministry of Public Security statement.

“They will also be discounted if callers insult the officers on duty,” VNA said.

Vietnam’s graft crackdown has seen the Communist-ruled government launch investigations into hundreds of public officials accused of mismanagement.

Several executives at state-owned enterprises, including one former politburo member, have been jailed for mismanagement or embezzlement.

Beyond those high-profile cases, petty corruption in Vietnam is commonplace, and road users are often forced to pay on-the-spot cash bribes to traffic police for minor offenses.

An official who answered the hotline’s phone number on Tuesday told Reuters it had been previously used to report traffic police only, but now accepted complaints about corruption in the entire police force.

The official, who was not authorized to speak to the media, declined to say how many calls a day were made to the hotline. — Reporting by James Pearson and Khanh Vu; Editing by Darren Schuettler