How long does General Secretary Trong want to turn Vietnam’s court into comedy stage?

First-instance hearing of the rescue flight case

On January 3, 2024, Hanoi Court will open a trial to try 38 defendants in the case “Viet A Company inflating the price of COVID-19 test kits.” As expected, the hearing will last about 20 days.

Among the 38 people indicted, there are many former high-ranking officials, such as two former Ministers Nguyen Thanh Long and Chu Ngoc Anh; former Secretary of Hai Duong- former Party Central Committee member Pham Xuan Thang. In addition, there were many other leading officials from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Science and Technology, as well as directors and officers of CDC of relevant provinces and cities.

The defendants in this case were accused of “Giving bribery; Receiving bribery; Violating regulations on bidding causes serious consequences; Violating regulations on management and use of state assets causing loss and waste; taking advantage of position and power while performing official duties; and Taking advantage of influence over people with positions and powers for personal gain.”

Public opinion before the trial said that the Viet A case had not yet been tried, but many signs showed that the Politburo of the Communist Party of Vietnam and General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong had tried every way to rescue the corrupt officials.

Based on the results of the first 2 days of the appeal trial of the “rescue flight” case, according to reports from state media, observers commented that there were many unusual signs of “blatant criminal reduction” of officials commiting  crimes regardless of public opinion.


  1. Former police investigator Hoang Van Hung suddenly pleaded guilty and paid back VND18.8 billion, and was immediately offered a reduction, from life imprisonment to 20 years. The reason given by the representative of the Procuracy is that Hoang Van Hung admitted his actions and showed remorse. Still according to the Procuracy, defendant Hoang Van Hung changed the content of his appeal, from complaining to asking for a reduced sentence, and provided some additional mitigating circumstances, such as having two uncles who are martyrs.
  2. Notably, although there was no appeal, the former Deputy Director of Hanoi Police, Major General Nguyen Anh Tuan, was still “actively” requested by the Procuracy to reduce his sentence by an additional 6 to 12 months in prison.

According to the Procuracy, defendant Hoang Van Hung admitted the crime and resolved all consequences. This is a great achievement and effort of defendant Nguyen Anh Tuan, it has helped the consequences of the case to be overcome, so his sentence should be considered for reduction.

  1. Regarding former Deputy Foreign Minister To Anh Dung, the Procuracy found that the defendant had presented mitigating circumstances, the defendant himself had many certificates of merit and had fulfilled the obligation to “remediate consequence.” At the same time, the Party Committee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs submitted a document asking the court to reduce the penalty. As a result, the Procuracy analyzed and recommended accepting the appeal, reducing the sentence from 16 years to 12-13 years in prison.
  2. – Regarding defendant Nguyen Thi Huong Lan, former Director of the Consular Department, the first-instance hearing affirmed that defendant Lan actively put pressure on her partners, forcing them to pay more than VND20 billion in bribes and the Court panel of first-nstance hearing imposed a life sentence.

But at the appeal hearing on the afternoon of December 25, the Procuracy reasoned that defendant Nguyen Thi Huong Lan and her family provided a number of additional mitigating circumstances, such as the family’s contributions to the Revolution; There is a document from the Party Committee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs asking for a reduced penalty; and the defendant also sincerely pleaded guilty, so the Procuracy asked the Court of Appeals to accept the appeal, requesting a reduction of the sentence from life in prison to 20 years. Although defendant Lan received a bribe of VND25 billion, up to now only VND1 billion has been remedied. The Procuracy did not mention how Ms. Lan “remedied the consequences.”

  1. According to observers, the person who is considered the most “disadvantaged” in the rescue flight incident is defendant Pham Trung Kien, former Secretary of Deputy Minister of Health Do Xuan Tuyen. Defendant Kien is still recommended by the Procuracy to uphold a life sentence. The reason given by the Procuracy is that Pham Trung Kien has solicited and accepted bribes the most times (253 times), with a particularly large amount of up to VND42.6 billion, so there is no basis to accept an appeal.

It is known that Pham Trung Kien and his family paid all the money to overcome the consequences, a total of VND43 billion, but the representative of the Procuracy still did not accept the appeal. Meanwhile, defendant Nguyen Thi Huong Lan received a bribe of more than VND25 billion, but only recovered VND1 billion, and was still asked to reduce her sentence from life imprisonment to 20 years. The difference between the two defendants, Pham Trung Kien and Nguyen Thi Huong Lan of the Procuracy, made the public shake their heads.

Again, according to the law, returning money earned by the defendant is mandatory and cannot be used as a circumstance to reduce the sentence.

Public opinion sees that the appeal hearing of the “rescue flight” case has shown that the court is no different from a comedy stage with the arbitrariness of law enforcers. And one thing is very clear, this case was influenced by the magic power of money.

The great Viet A will be same. (Translated)