Hanoi-based Activist Attacked with Acid by Thugs Near Police Station, Five Days after Tortured , Robbed by Policemen

Mr. Dung was preliminary treated with water after being assaulted with liquid acid by thug
Mr. Dung was preliminary treated with water after being assaulted with liquid acid by thug

[themify_box style=”blue, announcement, rounded” ]Mr. Dung, 57, was thrown with liquid acid by a thug when he and other activists and land petitioners went to the police station in Bach Khoa ward in Hai Ba Trung district to demand for return of his cell phone and memory cards the police robbed him five days ago.[/themify_box]

By Vu Quoc Ngu, Dec 21, 2015

Mr. Truong Van Dung, a political activist in Vietnam’s capital city of Hanoi, on Dec. 21 was attacked with acid by thugs near a police station, just five days after Dung was tortured by a group of five police officers.

A thug threw liquid acid at Mr. Dung, 57, when he and other activists and land petitioners went to the police station in Bach Khoa ward in Hai Ba Trung district to demand for return of his cell phone and memory cards the police took from him five days ago.

While Dung and his friends took lunch at a pavement few meters from the police station, one of the thugs threw a bottle of liquid acid at his head. Feeling severe pain, he shouted loudly and other activists realized that he was attacked by acid, and watered him immediately for preliminary treatment.

The assault was witnessed by many uniformed police officers and thugs. Activists believe the assault was aimed at threatening them. The policemen did nothing and let the attacker run away.

Mr. Dung was immediately taken to a local hospital for urgent treatment. The medical test showed that he was attacked with liquid acid. Luckily, he suffered only light injury to his eyes, face and head.

Five days earlier, Mr. Dung was detained by Hanoi police when he was together with human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai, who was arrested on December 16 and charged with conducting anti-state propaganda under Article 88 of the country’s Penal Code. Police took Dung to the Bach Khoa ward police station where he was questioned and beaten by a group of five police officers who finally took his iPhone and eight memory cards without making a minute for the confiscated items.

They verbally pledged to return the items on the next day, however, Dung couldn’t come to the station on Saturday to take his iPhone and memory cards due to severe pains resulting from the police torture.

Today, when Dung came to demand for returning his items, police refused to give them back as they promised. Instead, they mobilized a large number of thugs who threatened Dung and his friends.

The attack with liquid acid was among a series of assaults of thugs and policemen against Mr. Dung in the past few years due to his engagements in peaceful campaigns calling for political reforms and better human rights protection as well as protection of the country’s sovereignty in the East Sea amid rising aggressiveness of China.

Last year, he was severely beaten by two thugs who broke his several ribs during an attack near his private house.

Mr. Dung is among many Vietnamese political dissidents, social activists and human rights defenders who have suffered from brutal assaults at the hands of thugs and police officers. Other victims of government-supported attacks are labor activists Do Thi Minh Hanh and Truong Minh Duc, human rights lawyers Nguyen Van Dai, Tran Thu Nam and Le Van Luan, bloggers Nguyen Huu Vinh, Nguyen Tuong Thuy, Dinh Quang Tuyen, Doan Trang and Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, former political prisoners Chu Manh Son and Tran Minh Nhat, land rights activist Tran Thi Nga, environmentalists Nguyen Chi Tuyen, Trinh Anh Tuan, and Dinh Thi Phuong Thao, and even street patriotic musician Ta Tri Hai.

Last week, the EU, the London-based Amnesty International, the New York-based Human Rights Watch and the Stockholm-based Civil Rights Defenders expressed their concerns about recent barbaric attacks against Vietnamese activists, demanding Vietnam’s communist government to take proper measures to end these attacks to ensure security for them and bring the perpetrators to justice in line with Vietnam’s international human rights obligations.

Earlier this month, the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) called on “the international community to press the Vietnamese authorities to stop employing these thuggish methods, which have turned Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s administration into a government of gangsters.”

Vietnam’s government has intensified its crackdown against local activists ahead of the communist party’s National Congress slated in early 2016. Vowing to keep the country under a one-party regime, the communist party has requested the security forces to prevent the establishment of opposition parties.

Recently, Minister of Public Security General Tran Dai Quang, who is expected to hold higher positions in the next five years, labeled all unsanctioned civil society organizations as “reactionary groups”.