Vietnam’s Security Forces Detain Environmentalist Dang Vu Luong, Beating Pro-democracy Campaigner Nguyen Van Phuong

Environmentalist Dang Vu Luong

Defend the Defenders, August 23, 2019


On August 22, Vietnam’s security forces detained environmentalist Dang Vu Luong for more than ten hours, and beat pro-democracy campaigner Nguyen Van Phuong when he and others came to question about the detention, Defend the Defenders has learned.

According to the unregistered independent civil organization Cây Xanh (Green Trees) in which Mr. Luong is a member, police officers from the Hanoi Police Department and the Security Investigation Agency of the Ministry of Public Security kidnapped him at a private residence in Tay Ho district at around 9.30 AM. Police took him to the Quang An ward police station for shortly and later to the agency’s Office in Nguyen Gia Thieu district.

In the office, police officers reportedly questioned Mr. Luong about the film named Đừng Sợ (Don’t Be Afraid) produced by Cây Xanh, and members of the group and its leaders, including prominent political dissident Pham Doan Trang.

Informed about the abduction, many members of Cay Xanh and other activists in Hanoi came to the police office to ask about Luong. In response, police detained two other activists named Trinh Hoang Thanh and Nguyen Van Phuong. The latter’s was taken to a closed room where he was brutally beaten by three officers.

At around 10.30 PM, police released the three activists without further explanation.

Luong, a 48-year-old activist in Hanoi, is the second member of Cây Xanh being detained and questioned about Don’t Be Afraid by Vietnam’s security forces. On June 13, police also arrested female environmentalist Cao Vinh Thinh when she was going to leave to Thailand.

Vietnam’s security forces are reportedly chasing Ms. Trang, who is one of the key members of the group which was established in 2015 in response to the plan of Hanoi’s leadership to chop down thousands of aged trees in the capital city’s main streets. The group played key roles in the mass protest in Hanoi that year which forced the city’s leadership to stop its plan.

The group also involved in a campaign in 2016 which protests the Taiwanese Formosa Steel plant in the central province of Ha Tinh after hundreds of tons of fish died in the central coastal region due to Formosa’s discharge a huge volume of industrial waste into the sea. In October of 2016, the group released its comprehensive report about the environmental disaster caused by Formosa.

In March, the group launched a film named Đừng Sợ (Don’t Be Afraid about Vietnam’s independent civil society organizations. The film is expected to be projected across Vietnam in early April to mark the 3rd anniversary of Formosa’s environmental disaster.

In Vietnam, the ruling Communist Party is striving to control all organizations and does not welcome the formation of independent ones. All activities of Green Trees are considered as anti-government.