Honour for bribe-busting granny

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7142280.stm

A 76-year-old Vietnamese woman has been given a major award by a global anti-corruption watchdog.

Transparency International (TI) said Le Hien Duc had been chosen for the annual Integrity Award for being a “resourceful anti-corruption fighter”.

Corruption is widespread in Communist Vietnam but it is rare for people to challenge the authorities.

Since retiring in 1984, Mrs Duc has worked to expose corruption cases and challenge government officials.

Speaking to the BBC from her house in Hanoi, the grandmother of eight said she was “overjoyed and extremely proud” with the award, but that her fight against corruption would go on “with or without it”.

“I receive hundreds of e-mails everyday, each of them has a story, each of them is a cry for help,” she said.

“Such trust, such expectation… how can I stop?”

Fierce determination

Mrs Duc spends all her time filing complaints against officials accused of corruption on behalf of those who are not able to so themselves.

She has been known to knock on the doors of officials who have ignored her to deliver petitions from fellow citizens in person.

She has taken on anyone in authority from lowly bureaucrats to government ministers.

Earlier this year she approached the minister for education to complain that children were being short-changed over school meals.

Her fierce determination has earned her large numbers of admirers – but also plenty of enemies.

She told the BBC she had received death threats in the form of funeral wreaths sent to her house.

But as the news of her award spread, she said further requests for help were streaming in.

Mrs Duc will share the award with Mark Pieth, a criminal law and criminology professor at the University of Basel, Switzerland.

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