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Vietnam arrests Facebook user for discussing high-profile financial crimes

Authorities in Vietnam arrested Hanoi resident Dang Nhu Quynh for allegedly posting information on Facebook about the arrest of a business leader, which they said violated state interests, state media reported.

Quynh was arrested Tuesday for posting “unverified information” about several people and companies in the finance and real estate sectors, Lt. Gen. To An Xo of the Ministry of Public Security said Thursday.

Quynh’s posts violated the rights and interests of those individuals and companies and may have negatively affected the country’s stock market, the agency said.

Over the past few weeks, Quynh posted on Facebook assessments of how the ministry was handling the cases of finance mogul Trinh Van Quyet, chairman of FLC Group who had been arrested for stock market manipulation, and Do Anh Dung, the chairman of property developer Tan Hoang Minh Group who was arrested for bond-issuance fraud.

In the posts, Quynh said that the Ministry of Public Security would continue prosecuting people and companies that are guilty of similar crimes in the near future.

Quynh was previously summoned to the ministry for 200 Facebook posts he penned in 2020 about COVID-19 developments in Vietnam.

Authorities commonly arrest people for spreading sensitive information on the pretext of stopping false rumors from spreading, even if what the people targeted have said or written is true, Dang Dinh Manh, a Vietnam-based lawyer, told RFA’s Vietnamese Service.

“After the arrest of Mr. Quyet, people started talking about other big players who could be the next,” he said.

“On the one hand, false information negatively affects these businessmen and their companies’ shareholders. But on the other hand, some information flagged as false rumors later turned out to be true,” said Manh, adding that a better way to eliminate rumors would be for the government to provide information to the media in an honest and timely manner.

Tran Ngoc Tuan, a journalist based in the Czech Republic, told RFA that Vietnamese spread rumors because they do not trust state media.

“Perhaps every citizen in an authoritarian regime does the job of journalists because they want to learn about the truth, which is often hidden and covered. They often reach out to many sources, including insiders who are leaders,” he said.

“The government believes that this type of information undermines the state, the authorities and executive agencies. However, people often say that you should go to the internet to get information that is true and turn on Vietnam Televison or read the People’s Newspaper to hear untruths.”

Translated by Anna Vu. Written in English by Eugene Whong.