Apartment of Hanoi-based Blogger Attacked with Paint, Broken Glass, Fourth Attack Since Late July

Apartment of blogger Phan Van Bach attacked with paint and broken glass in late evening of Aug 18, 2017

By Defend the Defenders, August 19, 2017

Unknown individuals threw paint and broken glass particles into the private residence of Hanoi-based blogger Phan Xuan Bach on late night of August 18, the victim told Defend the Defenders.

Due to the attack, his apartment was full with red paint and tiny particles of glass. However, no one of his family got hurt, said the blogger who is conducting live streams programs on his Facebook account about the country’s hot issues on environment, corruption, and other issues which are ignored by state media.

In early morning of Saturday, Back received a box from an unknown individual and when he opened the box, he found three cans containing liquid substance likely made from decaying shrimp, and a flag of the former Vietnam Republic. Bach said it is a plot against him because possessing flags of Vietnam Republic may be considered as an anti-state act.

The attack was the fourth attack against Bach and his family since late July, and he supposed the attackers are pro-government individuals who found his critical live stream programs harmful for the ruling communist party and its government.

The first attack was on the afternoon of July 29 as his apartment was attacked with a mixture made from decaying shrimp, oil waste and dead crabs. One week later, a group of ten people including war veterans and other members from the Fatherland Front, a mass organization working under umbrella of the ruling communist party, came to his apartment to threaten to beat him.

On the afternoon of August 12, two young individuals came to his apartment, threatening to kill him if he continues to criticize the government. At 10 PM of the same day, his apartment was attacked with a substance containing decaying shrimp.

Bach, who ran for a seat in the country’s parliament in the general election in May last year but was eliminated unfairly by the Vietnam Fatherland Front, have reported the thugs’ harassment to the local police, however, police have yet to take measures to protect his family from the thugs.

Bach is among several bloggers belong to the Chan Hung Nuoc Viet (Vietnam Revival Movement) which aims to fight for multi-democracy, human rights and transparency in Vietnam. A number of members of the movement has been imprisoned, including founder Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, Vu Quang Thuan, and Nguyen Van Dien. Mr. Thuc is serving his 16-year imprisonment on charge of subversion under Article 79 of the country’s 1999 Penal Code while Mr. Thuan and Mr. Dien were arrested in early March and charged with “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 88 of the law.

Bach and other members of the movement have been summoned by Hanoi police for questioning their relations with Mr. Thuan and Mr. Dien.

The Communist Party of Vietnam and its government closely control media and impose severe censorship in social media. The government has used controversial articles of the Penal Code such as 79, 88 and 258 to silence local political dissidents and online bloggers.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Vietnam is one of countries with highest number of imprisoned journalists while Reporters Without Borders ranked Vietnam at the 175th position out of 180 countries in its World Press Freedom Index in 2017.

Meanwhile, many Vietnamese activists have also been assaulted by pro-government thugs along with being harassed and persecuted from the government. Blogger Le My Hanh was attacked twice in May by pro-government thugs in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City but perpetrators remain unpunished despite denunciations from the victim while activists Nguyen Lan Thang and his family was also attacked with paint by pro-government thugs.