Khuong, an investigative reporter with the Vietnamese-language state-controlled daily Tuoi Tre, was arrested on charges of bribing a police officer, according to news reports. The 15 million dong ($720) bribe, made in June 2011, was part of a Tuoi Tre undercover investigation into police corruption.
Based on the undercover transaction, the newspaper published an article headlined “Traffic cop takes bribe to return bike” under Khuong’s pen name, Hoang Khuong. The story prompted a government investigation not only of the recipient of the bribe but also of the journalist.
Authorities pressured Tuoi Tre’s editorial board to suspend Khuong from his reporting duties on December 3, 2011, a month before his arrest. Police investigators seized voice recordings from his private residence after his arrest, according to state media reports. Tuoi Tre representatives were not permitted to give evidence during Khuong’s brief trial, according to The Associated Press.
In a two-day trial on September 7, 2012, the People’s Court in Ho Chi Minh City sentenced Khuong to four years in prison, news reports said. The police officer who received the bribe and the two businessmen involved in brokering and delivering the money on Khuong’s behalf were also given prison terms.
Khuong, who had reported on police corruption in the past for Tuoi Tre, maintained his innocence at the trial. An appellate court upheld his conviction on December 27, 2012. He was being held in 2014 at the Thu Duc Correctional Facility in southern Binh Thuan province.