Anger at Prison Abuse and Corruption in Vietnam

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There has been an angry public reaction to the revelation that inmates from a prison near Ho Chi Minh City were forced to work on the construction of a house for a senior prison officer.

Some 20 prisoners in striped prison uniforms were seen working at the house of Colonel Ho Phi Thang, the senior officer at camp Z30A in Xuan Loc.

Local people saw the prisoners being transported daily to the site by van and became so concerned that they informed the Tuoi Tre newspaper, which brought the case to public attention.

Thang was quoted as admitting that it was “repugnant” that prisoners were working at his house and conceded that “no regulations allow prison officers to take prisoners to work at construction sites outside the camp.”


He said that fellow officers at the camp had taken the initiative to express gratitude to him as he nears retirement after 40 years service.

He said that he ordered the work to cease once the newspaper came out.

That didn’t stop a wave of public criticism on social media, with Colonel Thang accused of abusing his power. Many said he had intentionally ignored laws and exploited prisoners for his own interests. There were also allegations that similar cases are commonplace across the country.

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