Blogger Le Van Dung Wasn’t at Home when Hanoi Police Come to Arrest Him, His Wife Says He is Still Safe

Blogger Le Van Dung (Le Dung Vova)

Defend the Defender, May 29, 2021


Hanoi-based blogger Le Van Dung (aka Le Dung Vova), a member of the online independent CHTV news channel, was not at home when officers from the Hanoi Police Department’s Investigation Agency arrived at around 1:30 p.m. on May 25, said his family.

His wife Bui Thi Hue told Defend the Defenders that around 20 officers came to their house in Ha Dong district and read the arrest order under which he was charged with “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 117 of the Criminal Code with potential imprisonment of between seven and 12 years, even 20 years in prison if convicted. However, the blogger was not at home and he is temporarily safe, the mother of two kids said.

However, the police officers confiscated her laptop and cell phones, she added.

It is expected the Hanoi Police Department will issue arrest warrant soon.

CHTV channel is an independent channel established by political dissident Vu Quang Thuan who was convicted of “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 88 of the Penal Code 1999. Dung and other members of CHTV channel have used Facebook’s live-broadcast feature to transmit information on social issues such as land disputes and corruption, and to give ordinary citizens a chance to discuss matters of concern, drawing the attention of law enforcement and security agencies.

He has been summoned by the Hanoi police several times for interrogation about his posts. A few months ago, they questioned about his 12 videos, however, Dung admitted that only a half of them were conducted by him on which he talked about Vietnam’s issues while others were not his original ones.

Several other members of CHTV have been arrested or convicted of “conducting anti-state propaganda” such as Nguyen Van Dien, Le Trong Hung, and Tran Quoc Khanh.

Vietnam’s authoritarian regime strictly controls the media and persecutes independent journalists and bloggers. Dozens of Facebookers and bloggers have been imprisoned while others under regular harassment. The country has been placed in the groups of the countries in the bottom of the Press Freedom Index of the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) for many years. In 2020, it was ranked 175th among 180 countries in the index.