Vietnam deputy police minister sacked amid corruption crackdown

HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Wednesday fired the deputy police minister, the highest ranking police official to be removed in a corruption crackdown in the Communist-ruled country, the government said.

Bui Van Thanh, Deputy Minister of Public Security, was fired for “very serious violations”, Phuc said in a statement without elaborating. The decision took effect immediately.

Vietnamese authorities have arrested dozens of officials and business figures in a crackdown mixed with political intrigue in the one-party communist state.

The Communist party late last month stripped Thanh, 60, of all of his party credentials saying he violated regulations on state secrets and illegally issued documents on land management, the government said in a separate statement.

Thanh was also accused of illegally issuing a diplomatic passport to business tycoon Phan Van Anh Vu, who was sentenced to seven years in prison at a closed trial more than a week ago, convicted of deliberate disclosure of state secrets.

“Thanh’s violations caused very serious consequences, affecting the prestige of the party, the police force and causing public anger,” according to the government statement.

Phuc also demoted Thanh from Lieutenant General to Colonel, according to the government statement.

Last week, a military court sentenced the first military official to go on trial in the corruption crackdown to 12 years in jail.

Reporting by Khanh Vu and Mai Nguyen; Editing by Hugh Lawson