Ho Van Hai second blogger arrested in past month
By Bennett Murray
blogger art, cyber
Ho Chi Minh City police have arrested a blogger for spreading “anti-state propaganda”.
The VN Express news site reported police as saying Thursday that the blogger, a 52-year-old doctor named Ho Van Hai, was arrested Wednesday night over Facebook posts.
The content of the offending posts was not made public and the account has since been taken down.
However, police spokesman Col. Nguyen Sy Quang told VN Express that Hai had “distorted” information in a way that could erode trust in the government.
While charges haven’t been made public, Quang speculated that Hai had violated a controversial penal code provision that criminalizes “propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam”.
The law commands a prison term of up to 20 years for violators.
Vietnam, whose single party communist state takes a hard stance against dissent, frequently targets bloggers in crackdowns.
October saw the arrest of Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, better known by her pen name Mother Mushroom, under similar circumstances.
She had previously criticized the government’s handling of a catastrophic chemical spill at a Vietnamese steel plant owned by the Taiwanese firm Formosa Plastic Group.
In August 2016, netizens Nguyen Huu Thien An and Nguyen Huu Quoc Duy were sentenced to two and three years, respectively, in a Nha Trang courtroom on charges of “propagandizing against the State of Vietnam” by sharing anti-government material on social media.
In March, activist blogger Nguyen Huu Vinh and his assistant Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy were sentenced to five and three years, respectively, for running a popular website that frequently featured dissident writings.
Police have accused him of spreading distorted information designed to damage public trust in the government.
Police in Ho Chi Minh City arrested a man for disseminating information designed to undermine the government on Wednesday.
Ho Van Hai who is known by his Facebook name “Ho Hai” was arrested Wednesday night for distributing documents and information designed to undermine the state from a house in Thu Duc District.
Colonel Nguyen Sy Quang, a spokesman of the HCMC police force, said Hai had used “distorted” information to cause the public to lose trust in the government.
The 52-year-old doctor shows signs of having violated a Penal Code provision prohibiting “propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,” Quang said, adding that police have been monitoring Hai’s online activities for some time and only arrested him after they caught him in the act.
Facebooker Ho Van Hai in a file photo.
The city police said they will investigate further to clarify his violations.
Hai is the second Facebook blogger Vietnam has arrested in a month.
On October 10, police in the central province of Khanh Hoa arrested Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, 37, after accusing her of publishing distorted posts and videos designed to denigrate the government and the Communist Party on a blog and Facebook page she has run since 2012.
In March, the People’s Court of Hanoi sentenced blogger Nguyen Huu Vinh and his assistant Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy to five and three years in prison each for blogging against the state. An appeals court upheld the sentences in September.
Tags: anti-state propaganda, “propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam”, blogger, bloggers, Communist Party, freedom of speech, freedom of the media, Ho Van Hai, human rights, Internet, Me Nam, media censorship, Mother Mushroom, Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, propaganda, Vietnam, Vietnamese political bloggers, zero tolerance for criticism