18-year-old found dead by hanging in police custody

(VNRN) – A young man was found dead “in a hanging position” on Apr 14 while he was in police custody in the coastal province of Quang Nam, a death that police quickly termed a suicide, according to several press reports from Vietnam.

Do Van Binh (Đỗ Văn Bình), 18, had surrendered himself to the police relating to an assault and battery case. He was taken into custody on Apr 10 and held for questioning.

By dinner time Apr 14, Binh was found dead in his cell, in what police called “a hanging position by his neck.”

Binh’s family, however, told the press that his body was badly bruised.

The family also revealed that the police had come to their home and offered them 35 million dong (US$1,700). When the family refused the offer, the police went away, leaving the money behind.

Within less than two days, by the morning of Apr 16, police investigators from nearby Da Nang City closed the case on Binh’s death, pronouncing it a suicide.

Investigators also cleared local police of claims of torture, saying that since Binh cooperated in the investigation, “there was no need for discipline,” said Col. Tran Phuoc Huong (Trần Phước Hương), Chief of Staff of Da Nang City Police.

Binh’s bruises were “bodily stains” resulting from the hanging, Huong said.

The money the police gave the family was “a humanitarian gesture” including standard compensation for people who die in custody, he added.

Binh had been suspected of joining other neighborhood vigilantes detaining and beating two young boys suspected of stealing a vehicle. That case is still ongoing, Col. Huong said.

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