Hanoi Police Issue Arrest Warrant for Blogger Le Dung Vova

Blogger Lê Dũng Vova với kênh truyền hình CHTV

Defend the Defenders, June 2, 2021


The Police Department of Vietnam’s capital city of Hanoi has issued an arrest warrant calling for detaining blogger Le Van Dung (aka Le Dung Vova) after deciding to probe him on the allegation of “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 117 of the country’s Criminal Code.

The arrest warrant was publicized a few days after the department sent a group of security officers to his private residence in Ha Dong district to arrest him but he was not there. Police also conducted a house search and confiscated his wife’s laptop and two cell phones.

Dung, 51, started his civil activities in 2011 by participating in anti-China protests objecting to China’s expansionism and violations of Vietnam’s sovereignty in the East Sea (South China Sea). Later, he joined other bloggers to work for CHTVchannel, 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.