Hanoi-based Activist Attacked by Plain Clothes Agents after Participating in Gac Ma Commemoration

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Mr. Ngu was attacked by two agents on the road at lunchtime on Saturday, just one kilometer from his house in Thanh Tri district. He recognized one of the attackers is the policeman who has been tasked to follow him for months.
The attackers kicked and used his helmet to beat the activist and drove away from the scene when other travelers came. One of the people said that the assailants hid their motorbike’s registration.

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Defend the Defenders, Mar 14, 2015

Vu Quoc Ngu, a human rights activist in Vietnam’s capital city of Hanoi, has been beaten by local plainclothes agents while returned from a meeting to pay a tribute to the fallen soldiers killed by China in Gac Ma (Johnson South Reef) in the city’s center.

Mr. Ngu was attacked by two agents on the road at lunchtime on Saturday, just one kilometer from his house in Thanh Tri district. He recognized one of the attackers is the policeman who has been tasked to follow him for months.

The attackers kicked and used his helmet to beat the activist and drove away from the scene when other travelers came. One of the people said that the assailants hid their motorbike’s registration.

Latter, Mr. Ngu called the security chief in Thanh Tri district who is responsible for the government’s surveillance against local activists to question about the attack. However, the police officer denied having ordered his subordinates for carrying out such illegal moves.

Earlier in the morning, when Mr. Ngu left his house to go to the meeting, he was followed by a plainclothes agent.

When the commemoration ended and Mr. Ngu went to take his motorbike from a parking lot in the city’s center, he found that someone put debris into his vehicle’s lock, making it un-operational. He had to go to a technical maintenance facility to get the motor fixed.

Ngu is not the first human rights activist being attacked by plainclothes agents in Hanoi recently. Democracy fighter Nguyen Van Dai, labor activist Tran Thi Nga, human rights activist Nguyen Bac Truyen were severely beaten by plainclothes agents last year in the capital city.

In order to keep the country under the one-party regime, Vietnam’s communist government has tolerated any dissent. In its 2014/2015 report released on Feb. 25, the Amnesty International said Vietnam’s security officers harassed and physically attacked peaceful activists, and held them in short-term detention.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Vietnamese activists gathered in Hanoi’s center to mark the 27th anniversary of Gac Ma’s loss to China. In 1988, China’s naval forces attacked the reef, killing nearly 70 Vietnamese soldiers stationing there.

Later, China militarily invaded seven other reefs controlled by Vietnam on Truong Sa (Spratlys).

Vietnam’s state-media sometime recalled the event, however, the communist government has not organized a large-scale demonstration to condemn China’s bloody attack although Hanoi has reiterated its sovereignty over Truong Sa and Hoang Sa (Paracels), which is also illegally occupied by Beijing.

The Gac Ma commemoration in Hanoi on Saturday was not troubled by security forces, however, the government-support activists tried to intervene while Hanoi’s authorities sent their people to occupy the places where the real patriotic activists want to lay their intense and flowers.

Since the beginning of 2014, China has been rushing to build cement islands and military facilities in Gac Ma and other reefs in a bid to solidify its illegal claim over Truong Sa and as well as nearly 90% of waters in the resource-rich East Sea.

Hanoi verbally protested the Chinese illegal moves. However, no specific activities have been made, said observers.

At the same time, Hanoi has held a number of anti-China activists, including lawyer Le Quoc Quan and Bui Thi Minh Hang. /.