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The Associated Press October 14, 2010, 11:22AM ET

Vietnam accuses journalist of blackmail

A Vietnamese journalist was arrested Thursday for allegedly threatening to write negative stories about a cement company unless he was paid off, state-controlled media said.

The reporter, Phan Ha Binh, was allegedly caught receiving 220 million dong ($11,000) from the company at a restaurant Wednesday night, the online newspaper VietnamNet said.

It said Binh, who works for the Tien Phong (Pioneer) newspaper, had already written at least one damaging report about the company and had threatened to write more if he was not paid.

Tien Phong newspaper executives were not available for comment Thursday. An announcement on its website confirmed Binh's arrest and said the newspaper would cooperate with police.

Last month, Tien Phong ran a story by Binh indicating the company may lack the financial resources to carry out a cement project.

Tien Phong often runs investigative stories and is one of the Communist country's most popular newspapers. All local media outlets are under state control.

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