Commemorating General Pham Xuan Quac, the former head of the criminal police department C14

Minh Tuan

I knew General Pham Xuan Quac when he was a captain, Head of the Economic Police Department, Hai Hung Province Police, now Hai Duong Province. It was 1987, when I went to Hai Hung to do an investigative reporting on the case of Dong Tien commune, Chau Giang district (now this commune and district belongs to Hung Yen province). In Dong Tien, the head Party works as a landlord in the past, he can seize the land, and assets of some farmers he dislikes, and who oppose him will be suppressed unmercifully.

I had got news about these unlawful acts of this commune leader, and went to Hai Duong to do my investigations about this Dong Tien commune’s leader.

At that time, I knew that the Economic Police Department of Hai Hung Province had also gone to Dong Tien commune to investigate some land sales cases, but then they did not do investigation anymore. I went to the Provincial Police to find out two questions:

-What did the provincial police investigate in Dong Tien commune,

and-why not do it anymore.

Hai Hung Provincial Police Headquarters is located in a very beautiful location, right in the center of Hai Duong town, on the highway 5 from Hai Phong to Hanoi. (Now National Highway 5 has made a circle to the outside of the town, to avoid crowded traffic in the center of Hai Duong town).

The Provincial Police Headquarters at that time was still very dilapidated, just old, low-rise single-storey houses, the entrance gate had a guardrail, but it was dilapidated. (Now the headquarters of the Hai Duong Provincial Police is very beautiful.)

At that time, the Hai Hung Provincial Police Department assigned the Economic Police Department to receive me.

Captain Pham Xuan Quoc at that time was quite young, 40 years old, his hair was not as white as it is now.

(The case in Dong Tien commune, I will elaborate on Dong Tien reportage later. Dong Tien commune has a Party head that was called as a “new strongman” in rural Vietnam. There was nothing the legal authorities in Hai Hung could do, because this new magnate had many very formidable connections.)

“-Ah, this Party Secretary of Dong Tien commune is terrible, we did the initial reconnaissance investigation, made the summons, but this guy didn’t come up”- Mr. Quac said frankly to the point.

I was surprised because the police issued a summons, but if the litigants-suspects did not come to present, suspects had to be coerced, escorted, or even detained.

Guessing my question, Mr. Quac said:

“—It’s not that simple. Then you work more with the police brothers in my police chamber, and the police brothers will provide you with more details.”

At that time, Mr. Pham Xuan Quoc was preparing to go to a police training school in the former Soviet Union, so he assigned his subordinates, Deputy Division Chiefs, Captains,,,, to receive me, provide information, and tell the situation of Dong Tien commune for me.

Thanks to the openness and enthusiasm of the Head of the Department Quac, the subordinates received me enthusiastically. Up to now, I still keep good relations with some soldiers and officers of Hai Hung Provincial Police, from this Dong Tien case.

After Mr. Pham Xuan Quac returned from studying in the Soviet Union, I have completed the investigative reporting on the Dong Tien case in year 1987, and I had received the First award from Vietnam Journalist Association  on this Dong Tien case. The Secretary of the Dong Tien Commune Party Committee was dismissed. After that, the Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee who deliberately covered for this Commune Secretary was also transferred and retired.

After the Dong Tien case, Mr. Quac was very sympathetic to the press, especially me, and Mr. Manh Viet, an Investigative reporter for Tien Phong newspaper. When something happened in Hai Hung, related to the Economic Police, Mr. Quac enthusiastically cooperated with us, within the scope of his responsibilities and powers.

Mr. Quac is a very straightforward person, I can say that he is not afraid of touching, but also gentle and likable. But the appearance is quite serious, making many people feel shy at first. He also works very principled. Never go beyond the permitted limits of responsibilities and powers.

Manh Viet and I have had many contacts with Mr. Quac, and it can be said that Mr. Quac is someone who cannot be bought off.

(Is it because of that brazen, rigid nature, that he had to suffer a wrongful case at the end of his life?)

Once, Manh Viet and I sat with Mr. Quac’s command team, when he was directing the settlement of a conflict between farmers and the police, in a commune in Hai Hung. At that time, Mr. Quac was already a colonel, Deputy Director of Hai Hung Provincial Police, in charge of the Police. In rural Vietnam, due to many reasons, every year there are many cases of farmers clashing with the government, with the police,,,.

This is a very painful reality in a State of the people, by the people, for the people.

Mr. Quac used a walkie-talkie to calmly direct his subordinates, always reminding soldiers not to be rough with the pesants. He said people do not understand, then patiently explain to them. Don’t be rough. Farmers are like their father and mother in the countryside. Only those who are really extreme, Mr. Quac, will directs to be arrested and handled according to the law. (But actually handling is also very lenient, with respect for the limited knowledge of farmers).

Manh Viet and I sat silently watching Mr. Quac and the police officers busy working, sometimes we ran out, ran in, took out the camera to take pictures,,,.He left us alone to do a job of journalism, non-intervention.

Around the beginning of 1994, Manh Viet called me and told me that Mr. Quac was about to move to work in Hanoi, no more in Hai Duong, Viet told me to go to Hai Duong to visit him.

I took a motorbike, drove Mr. Manh Viet to Hai Duong town, and visited Mr. Quac at home. Mr. Quac made a simple and friendly meal for us.

Moving to Hanoi, he was in both happy and sad mood. Happy to work in a larger environment, nationwide. Sad to be far away from home, attached to more than half a person’s life already.

Then, I heard that he was the director of the C14 Criminal Police Department, based on Hang Bai street, very close to my headquarters of Dai Doan Ket newspaper.

When Mr. Quac first took office at Department C14, there was a case that Vu Xuan Truong, a captain of the Special Task Force of C14, was involved in a drug smuggling case, and was sentenced to death. Mr. Quac returned to the C14 Department, the case had already happened.

One day, I went to Department C14, met Mr. Quac, and asked him for information about Task Force, Department C14. Because I know this Task Force is in charge of fighting crime in the northern border area, bordering China. Soldiers of the Team often disguise themselves as bus passengers, traders, to catch robbers, armed smugglers,,,.

Mr. Quac ordered a car to take me down to the headquarters of the Task Force, located in Vinh Tuy area, but he added, “I’m going to disband this team.”

“Yes, why?” I asked in surprise.

“Well, that’s the drug case. Soldiers of the Team, for the most part are good. But there are negatives like that drug case, using the name of Special Forces, doing illegal things.”

After that, Mr. Quoc completely deleted this Task Force.

However, in return, Department C14, under the leadership of General Pham Xuan Quac, successfully completed big cases that resounded throughout the country, which the previous leaders of Department 14 could not do.

Cleared the case of Khanh Trang, Hanoi’s gangster boss.

Deleted the Tin “palet” case, the Minh “samasa” case in Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa.

Deleted the case of Hai Phong gangster Cu Ne.

Deleted the case of Dung “blue bird”, Hoang “grenade” in Binh Thuan.

And the biggest one, join the Tien Giang Police to clear the case of Nam Cam, Saigon.

Then the PMU18 case.

With criminal cases, dismantling other gangsters, Department C14 always enthusiastically cooperates with the press, promptly providing information to the press to propagate and fight crime throughout the country, and was praised by the Party, State and Government.

However, with the PMU18 case, such cooperation with the press is considered a crime, “deliberately disclosing work secrets”.

When the PMU18 incident happened in the year 2005, I has resigned from Dai Doan Ket newspaper and moved to Japan to settle down and reunite with my family.

I only heard and knew about the PMU18 case through the press, and through friends from Vietnam.

According to information from the press, General Quac directed the investigation of the PMU18 case, which is a large-scale gambling case worth millions of USD each gambling case. And this gambling money is corrupt money, stolen from OAD projects provided to Viet Nam by the Japanese government to help Vietnam build infrastructure.

PMU18 is the name of a company under the Ministry of Transport, in charge of managing Japanese ODA to help Vietnam build bridges and roads.

The director of PMU18, and related people in the Ministry of Transport, were corrupt, stealing ODA money, spending extravagantly, gambling, buying cars,,,.

And one criminal in this PMU18 case is a compatriot, and has a close relationship with General Cao Ngoc Oanh, who is the General Director of the General Department of Police, superior to General Quac.

In addition, working in PMU18 company, there are family members of General Secretary Nong Duc Manh.

Therefore, although many people know about the PMU18 case, no one dares to investigate this case.

Anyone who wants to investigate the PMU18 case will be like a “horse machete”, will be kicked to death by a horse.

However, General Quac dared to direct the C14 Department to investigate PMU18’s million-dollar gambling case. It’s a real “horse machete”.

While General Quac was directing the investigation of the PMU18 case, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung gave a retirement to General Quac, because he was soon 60 years old, then Dung directs to prosecute General Quac and a few Police junior colleagues, for the crime of “providing information to the press about the PMU18 case, revealing the secret of work!!!”

The fact that General Pham Xuan Quoc was prosecuted in the PMU18 case, for “disclosure of work secrets”, providing information to the press is ridiculous.

The Press Law and Government Directives stipulate that State agencies are responsible for providing information to the press.

Normal cases are okay, there is good cooperation between state agencies, law enforcement agencies and the press. When there is something touching, the informant for the press is charged with “disclosure of work secrets”!!!

On November 22, 2006, when he was not yet 60 years old, because General Quac was born in 1947, he received the decision of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, to retire, and resign as Head of the PMU18 special case committee.

Someone are afraid that Mr. Quac is still the head of the special project committee, the PMU18 case will be dangerously broken?

Not yet.

On May 13, 2008, General Quac was prosecuted along with Colonel Dinh Van Huynh, a senior investigator mainly responsible for the PMU18 case, with the crime of “abusing positions and powers while performing official duties”.

Then perhaps it makes no sense, because an honest and good person like General Quac can’t have “abuse of position and power while performing official duties”.

So that ridiculous charge was later changed to “Deliberately disclosing work secrets”.

Why not convict General Quac in the cases of Nam Cam, Khanh Trang, Tin “palet”,,,, because he also enthusiastically provided documents for the press.

But the case of Tin “palet”, Khanh Trang,,,, is not related  to the big man. The evidence of the Nam Orange case is too clear, and the person who directly directed it was Lieutenant General Nguyen Viet Thanh, Hero of the Police-Armed Forces,,,.

In a one days, if I have time to return to Vietnam, I will definitely visit General Pham Xuan Quoc.

A State that claims to be “The State of the people, by the people, for the people”, but allows prosecution and handling of an honest, brave and talented police general like General Pham Xuan Quoc, that State will not last long.

To me, to Manh Viet, to Vietnamese people who love justice, General Pham Xuan Quac will forever be an honest, genuine and exemplary police general, worthy of the title of “Public Security of people”///

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