Vietnamese police have nabbed a local magnate accused of leaking "state secrets" after he was deported by Singapore for breaking immigration rules while on the loose with three passports in the city-state.
Phan Van Anh Vu was arrested by police upon his arrival home following deportation by Singapore on Thursday, Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security confirmed.
Vu, aka Vu “nhom” (aluminum), landed at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi on a Vietnam Airlines flight departing from the city-state on Thursday afternoon, and was immediately captured by officers from the Investigative Security Agency under the public security ministry.
He had been deported by Singapore's immigration authority after violating the local immigration act.
“On January 4, 2018, [the agency] received and arrested Phan Van Anh Vu to begin an investigation process as per the law,” the ministry said in an announcement on its website.
On December 21, the Investigative Security Agency issued a wanted notice for Phan Van Anh Vu, born in 1975, who had “violated the Vietnamese law and fled his residence,” according to the announcement.
The ministry said that during his escape, Vu “violated the immigration act of Singapore and was deported.”
|A screenshot of a Straits Times report about the arrest of Phan Van Anh Vu.|
Prior to his deportation, Vu was held in custody in Singapore after being apprehended by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on December 28.
He was captured at 11:00 am that day when he was completing procedures to go from Singapore to Malaysia by road, according to Remy Choo Zheng Xi, a Singaporean lawyer retained by Vu’s family to represent him.
Vu had had his passport invalidated by the Vietnamese side and his attempt to enter Malaysia was therefore deemed illegitimate.
On December 21, Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security launched legal proceedings against Vu “nhom” in absentia on charges of “deliberately disclosing state secrets,” and searched his house in the central Vietnamese city of Da Nang.
Born in 1975, Phan Van Anh Vu is a business tycoon in Da Nang, owning different companies, including I.V.C Co. Ltd., 79 JSC and Bac Nam 79 JSC, and holding a stake in several other entities such as Seaprodex and DongA Bank.
Entering Singapore with three passports
In an email response to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, the Singaporean Ministry of Home Affairs confirmed that Vu was arrested on December 28 “for committing offenses under Singapore’s Immigration Act."
The ministry’s spokesperson said the Vietnamese fugitive had entered Singapore using a Vietnamese passport bearing a false identity.
“[Vu] also had in his possession another Vietnamese passport bearing his real identity (…) and a third passport as well,” the spokesperson said in the email.
According to the home affairs ministry, Vu used both of the first two passports in the past to enter Singapore.
“In the course of his latest entry into Singapore, as well as his previous entries into Singapore, Phan has made false declarations to ICA,” the ministry said.
As ICA had completed its investigations, Vu was issued a stern warning in lieu of prosecution.
“ICA has cancelled Phan Van Anh Vu’s visit pass and removed him from Singapore in accordance with its powers under the Immigration Act,” the ministry said.
The ministry also stated that Phan Van Anh Vu is wanted under an INTERPOL Red Notice issued by Vietnamese authorities, adding that ICA had required him to leave for Vietnam – “his country of origin and the country which issued the passports under which he had made this latest visit, and his previous visits, to Singapore.”