September 28, 2017
Police entered the University, kidnapped and forced a student into confession, with the collaboration of the school
Vietnamese Students for Human Rights Association, September 28, 2017
The Police, with the collaboration of the school, entered the school campus to kidnap a student, who was taken back to the office for a forced confession. The incident, that took place at the Banking University of Ho Chi Minh city on 21st September 2017, is a warning alarm about the lurking shadow of the authoritarian power over the school environment, stirring paranoia among the well-educated. Only a savage regime could behave in such an uncivilized manner.
University student Le Minh Son is his class’ representative, studying second year at the Banking University of Ho Chi Minh city. Son has shown to be an active and passionate person in social and community activities. There have been many times Son travelled all the way to the remoted places in the mountainous areas to hand gifts to people who live in poverty. Despite of great hardships, Son travelled along with his friends in the charity group all the way to the far north area of the country in Cao Bang, near the Vietnam – China border to hand the gifts to children living in poverty. Back when the storm number 2 was destroying the areas of middle Vietnam, Son and the charity group travelled to the scene itself to give assisstance.
Having a great concern over the environmental issue, especially the Formosa catastrophe, Son raised a slogan with the content ‘Formosa get out of Vietnam’. Not only that, Son has spoken out against several other social issues. These actions were seen as irritation by the Communist Police. The Communist Regime has brought too many tragedies, too such suffering upon the people of Vietnam, and whoever has the intention of saving the people from such suffering also are to bear many adverse consequences.
The Banking University of Ho Chi Minh city, whose chancellor Ly Hoang Anh is well-known all over the news for sexual harassment towards women, as well as his motto of ‘expelling whomever (of his) will’. The Office of Student Affairs whose job are mainly monitoring and repressing dissident students, also lent a hand to the police in kidnapping their own student. Such is an immoral action that should never be tolerated.
The student Le Minh Son was threatened with unreasonable expulsion from the school, and was forced into confession by the security officers of the Ministry of Police.
After 3 days of detention and being forced to work with the Ministry of Police, Son retold the story as follow:
In the evening of 20th September 2017, Son received a call from Miss Huong from the Office of Student Affairs, telling him that ‘Tomorrow, please arrage some time to come to the Office of Student Affairs to work with me’. Son agreed to come to the Office of Student Affairs to meet with Miss Huong at 9:15 on 21st September 2017.
Arriving on-time, as Son met with Miss Huong at the Office of Student Affairs, all of a sudden, 3 people in plain clothes who proclaimed themselves to be security officers appeared and forced Son to sit down and work with them.
At the same time, Miss Tuyen, who is also from the Office of Student Affairs, put on the table a letter of request for Son to work with the security office. Son retaliated: ‘How come the security office works with me without any invitation letter, without wearing uniform, according to the law?’
– ‘Are you going to work with us now, or do we have to ask the school to expel you?’ – A security officer threatened.
– ‘What kind reason are you going to use to expel me and pressure me into quitting my school?’ – Son retaliated.
Son demanded that the 3 people without uniforms to prove that they were indeed security officers. Miss Tuyen then said that Son was being managed by the school, and the school introduced the security office to work with him.
– -Whatever the matter it is, you will find out once you arrive at the Ministry of Police!’ – Miss Tuyen said sternly.
Son then demanded that Miss Tuyen and the security establish a statement to confirm that they indeed had to work with Son, as well as informing his family about the matter. However, Son never received any statement requesting him to work with them. Nor did the school and the security office informed Son’s family for 3 consecutive days.
The 3 security officers used force to get Son into a car and took him to the Office of the Ministry of Police at 235 Nguyen Van Cu, ward Nguyen Cu Trinh, district 1, in Ho Chi Minh city. Here, the security officer(s) asked:
– ‘You travelled with this group of people to Cambodia to participate in a course, did you not?’
Even though the security office could not establish that Son did indeed participate in such course, they still pressured Son into confession.
– ‘The seucrity office threatened to make an announcement to my school in order to get me expelled, with the purpose of psychological terrorising me into panicking. I panicked and gave them my signature to affirm whatever the security office claimed that I participated after 3 days of working with them.’ – Son shared.
‘The security office changed passwords of my phone, Facebook account, and accessed my personal information without my consent. Today, now that I have regained my health and been more mentally prepared, I would like to make a statement that the matter of me being invited to the security office to work with them was through coercion and hence unlawful. I would not accept any kind of allegations the security office made towards me throughout the 3 days of working with, because they have failed to present any kind of specific evidence to establish that I committed those acts.’ Son affirmed.
On 25th September 2017, Son consulted with lawyer Dang Minh Manh for advise, protection and defense. Son declared: ‘In any cases when the Vietnamese Police arrest, summon, or invite me for a work session, there always must be with the witness of the lawyer. I would only work with the police with the presence of lawyer Dang Dinh Manh; if the Vietnamese Police refuses the intervention of my lawyer, then I will use my right to remain silent. I would refuse to cooperate because I have lost all trust in any Vietnamese police officer, after going through the ordeal of their unlawful treatment towards me since 21st September 2017 until now.
Lawyer Dang Dinh Manh will assist with clarifying the matter with the security office – Ministry of Police and the Banking University of Ho Chi Minh city, about their unlawful work and treatment with me.’
The matter stirred great anger among the Facebook community. The status written about the consultation with the lawyer was posted by Son on his Facebook, which gained around 3200 likes and 157 turns share within 12 hours.
The severe violation of the law by the police themselves
Firstly, the act of the police asking the teachers themselves to lure the student into coming to the Office of Student Affair for the purpose of kidnapping was a violation of law. For whatever the reason the police wants to work with the student, there must be presented with an invitation letter stating the date and time, and the specific purpose of the meeting. In the case of prosecuting a case, a summoning letter must be presented.
Secondly, the Police officers of the Ministry of Police changed the passwords of the phone, Facebook account, and accessed the devices of the student Le Minh Son without his consent. This is a violation of Article 21 in the Constitution 2013, and Article 125 in the Penal Code.
Thirdly, according to the testimony of Le Minh Son, the police abused the forced confession tactics, which is a violation of Article 374 in the Penal Code 2015, which states that: ‘Whoever commits unlawful measures to pressure a person into giving testimony and information regards to a legal case for prosecuting purposes would be charged a sentence of between 6 months to 3 years in prison.’
The rampaging abuse of authority and the willful violation of the law under the police’s hands have been shown in many cases. Include a case where in Ho Chi Minh city, the police led a bunch of thugs and gangsters to the house of Mr. Nguyen Tang Vinh Phu and committed vandalism back in May 2017. The act of entering the school to kidnap the student Le Minh Son in order to give forced confession, has once again shown that the authoritarian power of the police has breached all the legal and moral boundaries.