Vietnamese Citizen Cleared of Involving in Missing of Former PoC Truong Duy Nhat But Faces Deportation from Thailand

Defend the Defenders, March 5, 2019

Thai authorities have transferred Vietnamese citizen Cao Lam to the Immigration Detention Center (IDC) where holds foreigners illegally stay in the country.

Mr. Cao Lam

The move was made after a trial on March 4 in which Mr. Lam was convicted of working illegally in Thailand. He will face deportation according to the Thai law.

It seems that the Royal Thai Police couldn’t find clues that Mr. Lam had involved in the missing of former Vietnamese prisoner of conscience Truong Duy Nhat who disappeared on January 26, one day after heregistered as an asylum seeker to the Office of the UN High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) in Bangkok.

Former PoC Truong Duy Nhat (Bangkok Post)

About ten days after Mr. Nhat dissappeared, Bui Thanh Hieu, a political blogger staying in Germany wrote in his Facebook account blaming secret agents of the General Department of Intelligence of the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA) of conducting abduction of Mr. Nhat in a trade center named Future Park in Bangkok’s outskirt. Hieu also said that several Vietnamese citizens in Thailand including Mr. Lam and a Vietnamese with penname Kami had assisted the group of ten of secret agents involved in Nhat’s kidnapping.

After Nhat’s dissappearance, many international NGOs, including Human Rights Watch (HRW), Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ) called on the Thai government to investigate the case.

According to Hieu, Nhat was taken to Vietnam and currently held in B14 temporary detention facility under the authority of the Ministry of Public Security.

The Vietnamese government has yet to make any comment in the case.

Vietnam’s security forces have applied abduction to detain political dissidents in the country and abroad. In 2017, they kidnapped former senior official Trinh Xuan Thanh in Berlin when he was seeking political asylum there. The kidnapping of Thanh is among reasons that Germany revoked its strategic partnership with Vietnam while the EU is taking longer time to consider approval of the EU-Vietnam Trade Agreement.