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Police to investigate Yen Bai shooting

Released at: 13:23, 19/08/2016

Police to investigate Yen Bai shooting

Photos: VGP

Two senior officials shot dead on August 18, with the gunman then taking his own life.

by Nguyen Ha

Police in the northern province of Yen Bai are conducting an investigation into the shooting of two provincial leaders by another local official on August 18.

The investigation will attempt to determine the shooter's motives, according to Major General Mr. Dang Tran Chieu, Director of the Yen Bai Department of Public Security.

Mr. Chieu's announcement came just seven hours after he told a press conference that no investigation was planned because the shooter killed himself after the shooting.

But he then changed his mind, saying that a study of the crime scene showed "sufficient basis" to warrant a probe, local media reported on August 19.

The shooting of the two senior officials, which Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said "has never happened anywhere in Vietnam before", took place at about 7.45am on August 18.

Mr. Do Cuong Minh, Chief of the province’s Forest Protection Bureau, allegedly shot Mr. Pham Duy Cuong, Secretary of the province’s Party Committee, and Mr. Ngo Ngoc Tuan, Chairman of the People's Council, in their respective offices. Mr. Minh then took his own life.

According to Mr. Chieu, Mr. Minh used his duty pistol in the shooting. The three men were rushed to Yen Bai General Hospital, but Mr. Cuong and Mr. Tuan had already succumbed to wounds in the head, chest and abdomen and were pronounced dead at 1.30pm. Mr. Minh was confirmed dead two hours later.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc rushed to the province, where he requested the Ministry of Public Security to work with local police to investigate the incident. The outcome will be reported to related authorities and made public, he said.

The local public security and defense sectors were also assigned to ensure political and social stability and safety, according to Vietnam News Agency.

Mr. Pham Duy Cuong, 58, was re-elected as Party Chief last October while Mr. Tuan, 52, became Chairman in June. Mr. Minh, 53, has been the Chief of the Forest Protection Bureau since 2014.

The shooting occurred at Mr. Cuong and Mr. Tuan’s offices minutes before the opening of the provincial People’s Council meeting, according to Ms. Pham Thi Thanh Tra, Chairwoman of the Yen Bai People’s Committee.

It was said the incident stemmed from the possible merger of Yen Bai’s Forest Protection Bureau with the province’s Forest Plantation Bureau, but Ms. Tra dismissed the claims.

“Provincial leaders are discussing the possibility but have not made a final decision,” she told a press conference on August 18.

Yen Bai, a mountainous province of nearly 800,000, is home to several ethnic minorities and is heavily covered by forests. It is 160 km northwest of Hanoi.

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