Two female Vietnamese reporters have received several death threat text messages, warning that they should stop their probe into an illegal group that has been collecting protection money from merchants at a market in Hanoi or their families will die.
Vietnam Television (VTV) reporter Nguyen Thi Lien and Thu Trang, a journalist of Ho Chi Minh City-based Phu Nu (Women) newspaper, exposed unlawful activities of a protection racket at Long Bien Market, located in Ba Dinh District, for their respective media outlets.
VTV and Phu Nu on Monday submitted separate documents to the Ministry of Public Security and Hanoi's police department, calling for an investigation to be launched into the case.
Both Lien and Trang received some text messages with the same content sent from the same phone number on Sunday night.
The sender, who appeared to be a member of the protection gang, asked the reporters to stop uncovering their operations.
“I will say this only once. If you do not listen, your entire family will have to die for that,” the text reads.
The first death threat was followed by a second text message with similar intimidating content.
|The text messages Lien received on her phone|
During an interview with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, Lien said she had been worried about the safety of her family as the threats appear to come from very dangerous criminals.
The VTV reporter hoped that authorities would soon deal with those behind this.
An official from the Hanoi police department has confirmed they will promptly verify and probe the case.
Lien's investigative report and Trang's articles were published in late September, which captured a lot of attention from the public.
The female journalists had to go undercover to shoot enough photos and videos of the illegal activities at the market.
Hanoi police launched a probe into the case in the wake of the exposés. The investigation remains underway.
According to Lien, she had planned to return to the market in mid-December and continue her investigation before receiving the death threats.