HANOI, Vietnam – The wife of a Vietnamese journalist has been arrested for allegedly murdering her husband by setting him on fire as he slept, police said Wednesday.
Tran Thi Thuy Lieu, 40, was taken into custody Tuesday, said Phan Van Tien, the chief police investigator of southern Long An province. Police previously said she confessed over the weekend to dousing Le Hoang Hung, 50, with gasoline before lighting him on fire as he slept in his bed last month.
Twenty percent of his body was covered in third-degree burns, and he died in a Ho Chi Minh City hospital 10 days later.
A rope was found hanging from a balcony near Hung's bedroom window, making it appear as though an intruder was to blame. Several of Hung's colleagues, along with international journalism rights groups, initially feared Hung may have been the target of revenge for his aggressive reporting on corruption and smuggling investigations at the state-controlled Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper where he covered Vietnam's southern Mekong Delta.
Police were still investigating to determine whether Lieu acted alone. Her sister's husband, who lives next door, has been summoned for testimony, Tien said.
State-controlled media have reported that Lieu lost over 1 billion dong ($47,000) during 22 gambling trips to neighboring Cambodia in December. She reportedly urged Hung to sell their house, but he did not agree.
Tuoi Tre newspaper quoted Tien as saying that Lieu told police she bought a liter of gasoline two days before the attack and hid it in a bedroom wardrobe in a plastic bag.
Around midnight Jan. 19, Lieu allegedly sprayed the gasoline on Hung while he was in his bed, it said. She then returned to a bedroom where she was sleeping with her children and pretended she didn't know what had happened, it said.