Czech daily uncovers details of police attack ahead of Vietnamese man’s death


The Czech daily Lidové Noviny released details on Monday which fill out the circumstances surrounding a Vietnamese man’s death after he was detained by Brno police. The new information released by the paper points to him being the victim of a savage attack after drawing on witness statements and the initial findings of the state prosecutor.

The new evidence suggests Vietnamese man Hoang Son Lam died following an attack led by one of three policemen who were waiting to pick him up as a suspected heroin dealer in his Brno flat on January 4th.

The policeman allegedly hit Lam in the kidneys and under the ribs and encouraged a neighbour to kick him as well, saying that no-one would know or hear anything. The events, during which the policeman screamed his hatred of Vietnamese and drug dealers, were recorded by one colleague on his mobile phone, the paper said.

The 43-year-old Vietnamese market trader died in hospital from severe internal injuries after being rushed from the police cell where he was being held. Lam’s death came nine hours after police initially pounced on him.

An autopsy later showed he had two broken lower ribs and a damaged spleen as a result of blows. It did not reveal any traces of heroin but only methadone, a heroin substitute used to wean people off the hard drug.

The chairman of the Czech-Vietnamese association, Marcel Winter, says the new findings about the incident are an indictment of the police and Minister of Interior, Ivan Langer.

“I regard this as very shameful for the Czech Republic and for our democracy. Today in a press release I am calling on the basis of new, shocking, facts made public by Lidové Noviny, for the Czech Minister of the Interior and director of the South Moravian police to resign from their positions. It is not possible to use brutality, racism and violence.”

The three Brno policemen involved have been relieved of duty pending an investigation by the state prosecutor’s office. Police have refused to comment pending the investigation.