Bangkok, 5 July – Vietnam authorities arrested on Wednesday in Ho Chi Minh city a young female blogger after reporting to the police for an earlier arrest in connection with participation in a protest.
Huynh Thuc Vy, 27, was taken into custody aboard a passenger van outside the Tan Quy police station in Ho Chi Minh city.
Her whereabouts remain unknown as of today, despite attempts by her husband and their lawyer to find her.
According to information received by SEAPA, police interrogated Huynh Thuc Vy and her husband, Le Khanh Duy, at the station when they reported for an ‘invitation’ following their release from an earlier arrest for participating in an anti-Chinese bullying protest in the city on 1 July.
During the interrogation, police threatened and intimidated the pair. H
uynh is reportedly weak from an illness, so her husband asked the police to take her to the hospital.
When they stood up to leave, Huynh was taken forcibly into a van, which sped off to an unknown location. The van had a registration number of ’92’ under Quang Nam province.
In the afternoon, police went to their home to confiscate their laptop computers and mobile phones. The police did not leave any record of the seized items contrary to lawful procedure.
In the afternoon, the couple’s lawyer tried to locate Huynh but was told by the Tan Quy police that they only had ‘transport duty’, and to ask the authorities in Quang Nam province, the location of Huynh’s home.
Her husband, Le Khanh Duy is appealing to authorities to disclose her location and to release her as she is ill and had further weakened due to the harassment from their detention a day earlier.
Huynh Thuc Vy and her husband Le Khanh Duy joined a rally on 1 July at the Chinese consulate in Ho Chi Minh city as part of continuing protests against China’s alleged bullying in South China Sea territory disputed with Vietnam.
The pair along with several others were arrested and forcibly taken to Co Giang Ward, District 1 in the city.
(Photo caption: Huynh Thuc Vy (woman at the center) as she was being arrested for attending the anti-Chinese bullying protest on 1 July.)
They were held for some 23 hours, and were subjected to assault during their detention.
Huynh is an active blogger who writes on human rights, democracy and other political issues. Her father, Huynh Ngoc Tuan, had spent 10 years in prison for his calls for freedom and democracy in Vietnam.
A news report from Radio Free Asia (RFA) had alleged that the police have been targeting bloggers in particular in connection with these rare protests, which have been tolerated over the past few weeks.
The RFA report quoted Huynh’s father Huynh Ngoc Tuan as having been put under surveillance ahead of the rallies.
The account is confirmed by Danlambao, a popular blog that did live reporting of the protests, which said that there are many other bloggers being harassed or arrested.
One of them is Nguyen Hoang Vi who had her house surrounded before she could leave for the protest to report as a citizen journalist. She managed to avoid the police but was arrested later at the rally.
The rest are bloggers Chau Van Thi, Hanh Nhan, Gio Lang Thang, Dan Nuoc Nam, Le Thuan and Huynh Cong Thuan, who were also temporary held at the police station for wanting to attend and report on the event.