Police in Vung Tau City in southern Vietnam have arrested a man who used his Facebook page to disseminate false and distorted information related to the current COVID-19 fight in the country.
Nguyen Thien Nghia, 50, was detained on Thursday on charges of ‘illegal provision or use of information on computer networks or telecommunications networks,’ as prescribed in the Vietnamese Penal Code, police officers said.
The man, who hails from Ho Chi Minh City but resides in Vung Tau, part of Ba Ria - Vung Tau Province, will be temporarily jailed for two months pending prosecution for his offense, police said.
Nghia had been found using his Facebook account 'Nghia Nguyen Thien' to post and share many stories that contained untrue contents in relation to COVID-19 prevention and control activities, and research and production of COVID-19 vaccines.
The man’s posts both caused panic and anxiety among readers and denied the efforts of authorities, relevant agencies, and the people in pushing back the pandemic, investigators said.
A similar case happened in Ho Chi Minh City in July, when police arrested 60-year-old Phan Huu Diep Anh for using his personal Facebook account to spread fake COVID-19 news.
The man was prosecuted for ‘abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State, lawful rights, and interests of organizations and/or citizens,’ as prescribed in the Vietnamese Penal Code.
Anh uploaded on his Facebook page a photo of a man setting himself on fire on a street and added a caption claiming the city’s regulations on COVID-19 prevention and control were the reason for the man to torch himself.
In reality, the man who burned himself was a local resident diagnosed with mental and neurological disorders, according to his family.