Two Activists Kidnapped, Beaten and Robbed in Quang Binh, Second Case within Two Months


Defend the Defenders

April 14, 2017


On April 13, two young activists Tran Hoang Phuc and Huynh Thanh Phat were kidnapped by plainclothes agents, who robbed and beaten them brutally before releasing the activists at a remote area in the central Vietnam, the victims told Defend the Defenders.

The assault occurred in the central province of Quang Binh, where two months ago pro-democracy advocate Nguyen Trung Ton and his friend were also kidnapped, robbed and beaten by plainclothes agents.

Mr. Phuc, a Saigon-based young human rights and pro-democracy activist said earlier this week he and Mr. Phat came back to Quang Binh provinceís Ba Don town after four months of his first visit there when he participated in a charity campaign for the local residents who are in difficulties due to floods and man-made disasters.

After visiting with meeting with local Catholic priests and supplying local residents with additional donations, Phuc and Phat went to the Xuan Truyen station to get a bus to go back to Saigon. After arriving in the station, the duo was kidnapped by a group of eight masked men who came with a 7-seat car.

The kidnapper themselves introduced at criminals and took away of the station to a remote area near the Ho Chi Minh road of Tam Quang commune, Tuong Duong district, Nghe An province,. During the journey, they continuously beat the two activists with hands and belts.

After arriving to a remote area of the newly-built road, the kidnappers robbed all belongings of Phuc and Phat, including cell phones and wallets with money and personnel documents, and stripped out their clothes and left.

Severely injured, the two young activists were rescued by people in the area who provided them with clothes and helped them to contact with other activists.

Currently, Phuc and Phat are treated their injuries by their friends.

On February 27, Mr. Ton, president of the Brotherhood of Democracy, and his friend were also kidnapped in Ba Don town and treated in the same way. Due to the attack, Tonís foots were broken and he spent month-lasting treatment in a hospital. His health is still very bad.

Phuc is a political activists and businessman while Phat is an young human rights defenders. Both have participated in many peaceful demonstrations on environmental issues and advocated for human rights and multi-party democracy in the Southeast Asian nation.

They have also actively joined in charity campaigns to assist fishermen in central region who have suffered from the environmental disaster caused by the illegal discharge of toxic industrial waste of the Taiwanese Formosa steel plant located in the central province of Ha Tinh.

Phuc and Phat were the latest victims of kidnap, robbery and assault by plainclothes agents in the past few years. Many activists, including Nguyen Trung Truc and Mai Van Tam from Quang Binh, Nguyen Cong Huan from Nghe An, Nguyen Van Dai and La Viet Dung were kidnapped, beaten and robbed by unidentified thugs who were supposed to be plainclothes agents.

Along with arrest, detention and imprisonment, Vietnamís security forces have also applied a number of tricks to discourage local activists.

Physical attacks by police and plainclothes agents are on the rise in Vietnam. Nationwide, as many as 140 activists were physically attacked by Vietnamís security forces in 2016 compared to 65 in 2014 and 125 in 2015, according to statistics of the Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience.

Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Thai Binh, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Gia Lai and Lam Dong were the localities where local police showed the highest level of brutality and disrespect for the rule of law by frequently resorting to arbitrary detention.

Any perpetrators have been punished so far.

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