YouTube has terminated a popular channel that chronicles the “thug life” of a Vietnamese man through videos that display excessive violence and law infringement after its owner was arrested on a gambling charge.
The Google-owned platform took action on Wednesday after receiving a formal request from Vietnam’s Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information (ABEI) the earlier day.
“YouTube cannot allow this channel to continue to exist or it would risk promoting the unhealthy behaviors and lifestyle of a man who has violated Vietnamese laws,” said ABEI director Nguyen Thanh Lam.
The channel, which goes by the name of ‘Kha BanH’ (Handsome Kha), had a verified badge and garnered over two million subscribers and nearly 400 million views on its hundreds of videos before the shutdown.
It was run by Nguyen Van Kha, 26, a resident in Bac Ninh Province in northern Vietnam.
Kha became an Internet sensation idolized by many Vietnamese youths, even though his videos do not document anything other than himself gambling, engaging in gang fights, destroying properties, and breaking traffic laws.
His channel has been awarded the YouTube Gold Play Button for topping one million subscribers.
According to Kha, in his best months he could make nearly US$20,000 a month in YouTube payment for displaying ads on his videos.
|A screen grab of Ngo Ba Kha's YouTube channel before it was shut down on April 3, 2019.
In one of his videos, Kha could be seen surrounded by students in the northern province of Yen Bai as he taught them how to do his iconic “hand fan dance” to the amusement of the young audience.
Kha was arrested in Bac Ninh on Monday for the allegedly organizing gambling.
At the time of his arrest, Kha also tested positive to narcotics use, said Ngo Cong Khoi, head of the criminal division of Bac Ninh Police.
Weapons including machetes, batons and knives as well as evidence of his gambling ring were also confiscated during a search of Kha’s residence, Khoi said.
|Ngo Ba Kha bursts into tears during a police interrogation after his arrest in Bac Ninh Province on April 1, 2019 in this still photo taken from footage uploaded online.
“Officers also found documents that suggest Kha is involved in some kind of loan shark activities,” the police chief added.
Nguyen Van Long, police chief of Bac Ninh, said officers are expanding the investigation and collecting more evidence to prosecute Kha and associates for their crimes.
Kha has a history of criminal activities and was in 2017 arrested for inflicting injuries and disrupting public order, Long said.