Police say Quang Ninh criminal gang coal “collectors”

Police in Quang Ninh Province denied information in Thanh Nien’s expose Wednesday about a local gang engaged in a massive protection racket.

Thanh Nien wrote about the violent gang led by Tran Huy Trung but Lieutenant Colonel Hoang Thanh Nhuong, vice chief of the Cam Pha District police, said: “They [the 100-strong gang] are common people.”

“Trung and his brother Dung Phuong are under surveillance since they have previous convictions. They have only 10-20 employees to help them collect coal,” he told Thanh Nien.

“These people have not caused any problems this year. I don’t know if they did elsewhere.”

But under intense questioning, he unwittingly said one of Trung’s henchmen had hit a coal truck driver with a water pipe earlier this month and caused serious injuries.

“We are investigating the case and will make arrests when things are clearer,” Nhuong said.

But when Thanh Nien persisted he looked confused and said he didn’t remember the man’s name.

In a report Wednesday the news-paper said the gang extorted over VND1 billion ($63,000) a day from illegal coal miners, but the district police strongly denied it.

“They make just VND2.5-3 million a day from collecting coal” they said.

Reported by Dong Bac