A group of Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters and editors have been intimidated over the past week for their involvement in a recent exposé uncovering the shady origins of products sold by Vietnamese electronics brand Asanzo.
The journalists said they and their editors have been terrorized through Facebook and SMS messages since the articles were first published late last week.
Suspicious individuals have also been seen hanging around at cafés on Hoang Van Thu and Tran Khac Chan Streets in Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City, where the Tuoi Tre headquarters are situated.
The Tuoi Tre editorial board has taken certain measures to ensure the safety of its reporters and editors, as well as reported the situation to the municipal police department, Vietnam Journalists’ Association, and Ho Chi Minh City Journalists’ Association.
Tuoi Tre began publishing the exposé on June 21, providing evidence that Asanzo Vietnam JSC has been selling products imported from China and devices assembled from Chinese parts under the guise of Vietnamese goods.
Asanzo is a Ho Chi Minh City-based electronics firm known across the country for its affordable range of televisions, refrigerators, air conditioners, smartphones, and household appliances.
The firm has claimed that its products are manufactured domestically with modern Japanese technology.
Tuoi Tre reporters, however, discovered that Asanzo has been purchasing imported Chinese goods and components through various dummy companies.
They also went undercover as assembly workers at Asanzo’s factory in Binh Tan District to witness first-hand the six-step process of making a ‘Vietnamese TV’ from Chinese parts.
One of the most important parts of the process is to remove the “Made in China” text on a stamp placed on every LCD panel imported from China.
During a meeting with Tuoi Tre on June 22, Asanzo’s Chairman Le Van Tam admitted that the company’s goods are “not Vietnamese” as it has previously claimed.
It would be more accurate to say that the products are “assembled in Vietnam,” Tam remarked.