The victim was Trinh Xuan Tinh, a 34-year-old man from Binh Duong Province. On December 6, when Tinh was selling fruits and vegetables around a temporary market in HCM City, around ten security guards asked him to stop.
A market watchdog from the ward had reported Tinh. He was asked to take his cart to the station so he could be questioned. He refused and an argument ensued.
Witnesses said that members of the working group punched Tinh, who fell to the ground, after which it became a fight. Tinh was handcuffed and was forced into a car, but he continued to resist and was beaten until he was unconscious.
Many people who witnessed the incident said they tried to stop the fight. Some used mobile phones to capture images.
Some reported the case to police in Ward 25 who responded by taking Tinh to the hospital for first aid. His vehicle and goods, worth around VND1 million (USD47.36), were seized.
He was then taken to his rented house in Binh Duong Province for further care, but he has yet to recover.
The same night Le Van Truong, the younger brother of Tinh’s wife drew up a petition against the security team and sent it to local authorities.
Reporters who went to Ward 25 People’s Committee to get further information were answered by Nguyen Van Quy, Chairman of the committee, who acknowledged the case but refused further comment because the case was still under investigation.
Tinh’s family is living in poverty in a rented house in Binh Duong with two small children.
The case was brought up by reporters outside a recent meeting of HCM City People’s Council. Many members of the council expressed concern about the actions of the security guards.
“It’s necessary to enforce the law without forgetting humanity. In any case, those in positions of authority should not abuse it,” said Nguyen Hong Ha, Deputy Director of the council’s Office of Culture and Social Affairs.
However Nguyen Van Quy, Chairman of Ward 25 People’s Committee, said in a report to Binh Thanh District People’s Committee and Party Committee and denied that the security guards attacked the vendor, and were acting in self defense.
Similar cases around the country have come to light recently, with the attackers ranging from night watchmen to the heads of residential areas, communal officials and traffic police.
One recent case occurred in central highlands city of Kon Tum got a large amount of attention. It involved a land dispute between the families of Phan Tan Tien and Pham Thi Quyt, and ensued in a fight in which Nguyen Duc Hoang, Chief Inspector of the city’s Health Department, Tien’s son in law, attacked Quyt by a hoe, leaving her hospitalised.
In a separate case on June 14, Nguyen The Chung, 17, from Gia Lai Province’s Ia Pa District was attacked by a group of policemen after having a quarrel at a karaoke bar. Five policemen were accused of the incident.