Vietnam police arrest former head of government office amid anti-graft crackdown

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HANOI (Reuters) - Police in Vietnam have arrested the former head of the government office, Mai Tien Dung, on suspicion of abuse of power, the Ministry of Public Security said on Saturday, amid a widening anti-graft crackdown in the Southeast Asian country.

The arrest of Dung, 65, is part of an investigation into a bribery case in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, the ministry said in a statement, adding that the arrest had been made on April 30.

Dung could not be reached for comment on the accusations made against him.

The crackdown, which is dubbed "blazing furnace" and was launched nearly a decade ago, has recently gained momentum with hundreds of senior officials and high-profile corporate executives having been prosecuted or forced to step down.

The National Assembly on Thursday voted to remove its chairman, Vuong Dinh Hue, after having voted to remove the country's president, Vo Van Thuong, in March.

Both Hue and Thuong were publicly accused of unspecified violations and shortcomings. Neither of the men has commented publicly on the charges filed against them.

Saturday's announcement did not provide details about Dung's alleged crimes but state media said his arrest was linked to a real estate project in Lam Dong province.

Dung served as head of the government office from 2016 to 2021 under then-prime minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

Phuc became Vietnam's president in April 2021 but resigned after less than two years for "violations and wrongdoing" by officials under his control.

(Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by Gareth Jones)