​Police capture dozen paid to disrupt public order in south-central Vietnam

Authorities identified man who they say paid others to incite ‘riot-like’ situations in Binh Thuan province

Burnt vehicles are seen inside a fire police station in Binh Thuan Province in south-central Vietnam, where rioters broke in on June 11, 2018 and caused some destruction. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Twelve people linked to ‘riot-like’ situations on Sunday and Monday in the south-central province of Binh Thuan have been detained, including a man police say paid others to stir up violence.

According to a source familiar with the situation, police in Binh Thuan’s capital, Phan Thiet, made the arrests on Wednesday, two days after violent incidents in the area had settled.

Among the detainees was Ngo Duy Nam, 36, whom police identified as having paid several others to disrupt public order.

Vietnamese Minister of Public Security To Lam was in Binh Thuan the same day for a meeting with the provincial police force, where he was briefed on the current unrest in the area.

Wednesday’s arrests raised the number rioters taken into Binh Thuan police custody to 19.

Law enforcement arrested 102 people on Monday participating in activities they say contributed to civil unrest in the coastal province but later screened and released 95 of the detainees.

Provincial police say they are currently collecting evidence to prosecute the remaining detainees for the involvement in the marches.

Thousands joined marches across Vietnam on Sunday to speak out against a draft law which sparked public outcry for allowing land in the country’s new special economic zones to be leased for up to 99 years to potential foreign investors.

In Binh Thuan, the marches turned violent when participants began hurling rocks and hard objects at law enforcement and vandalized several public buildings.

The situation lasted for two days and left dozens of police officers wounded, though no casualties were officially reported.

Under public pressure, the lawmaking National Assembly has agreed to delay consideration of the bill until October, while the government mulls revisions to the 99-year lease period provision.

If passed, the law would provide a legal foundation for the establishment of three special economic zones – Phu Quoc, Van Don, and Bac Van Phong – in southern, northern, and south-central Vietnam, respectively, where Vietnam hopes to attract foreign investment through greater incentives and fewer legal restrictions.

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