Vietnam mobs set fire to foreign factories in anti-China riots

HANOI/MANILA, (Reuters) – Thousands of Vietnamese set fire to foreign factories and rampaged in industrial zones in the south of the country in an angry reaction to Chinese oil drilling in a part of the South China Sea claimed by Vietnam, officials said yesterday.

The brunt of Tuesday’s violence, one of the worst breakdowns in Sino-Vietnamese relations since the neighbours fought a brief border war in 1979, appears to have been borne by Taiwanese firms in the zones in Binh Duong and Dong Nai provinces that were mistaken for Chinese-owned companies.

A police official in Binh Duong province, speaking by telephone, said about 200 people had been arrested.

“We are working on other areas in the province … We haven’t seen any injuries,” the official said.

Photographs posted on social media sites and blogs, purportedly of the aftermath of the violence, showed blackened shipping containers, smashed windows and several burnt out vehicles that had been overturned.

Some Taiwanese firms had spray-painted messages on the road and across their gates saying “We Support Vietnam” in an effort to distinguish themselves from Chinese enterprises.

The row over the South China Sea and anti-China violence in tightly-controlled Vietnam have raised fears of an escalation in tensions between the Communist neighbours.

“I fear a dark chapter in Sino-Vietnamese relations is now being written,” said Ian Storey, a South China Sea expert at Singapore’s Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

“And because China wants to keep that oil rig in place into August, these protests could just be the first pages.”

Tran Van Nam, vice chairman of the Binh Duong People’s Committee, said around 6,000 workers initially held peaceful protests on Tuesday, but order broke down when numbers swelled to about 20,000. Gates were smashed and rioters set 15 factories on fire, he said.

“This caused billions of dong (hundreds of thousands of dollars) in damages and thousands of workers will have lost their jobs,” Nam said by telephone.

“We urge everyone to stay calm, exercise restraint and have faith in the leadership of the Party and State.”

 

“EVERYONE IS TERRIFIED”

F.Y. Hong, president of Taiwan’s Formosa Industries Corp, one of the firms to be attacked, said about 300 rioters looted televisions, computers and personal belongings of workers.

“Due to the limited number of police, they couldn’t stop the looters. The situation was like in a country where there were no authorities to protect its people,” Hong said.

 

Malaysian-listed furniture manufacturer Latitude Tree Holdings Bhd said its property was ransacked, forcing factory workers to down tools. It did not know when operations at the plant could resume.

“Everyone is terrified,” said Serena Liu, chairwoman of the Taiwan Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam. “Some people tried to drive out of Binh Duong, but looters had put up road blocks.”

A Singapore foreign ministry spokesman said the premises of several foreign firms were broken into and set on fire in two Vietnam-Singapore joint venture industrial parks in Binh Duong.

Comments  

Spain hunts driver who killed 13 in Barcelona, says foils bomb plot

BARCELONA,  (Reuters) – Spain mounted a sweeping anti-terror operation yesterday after a suspected Islamist militant drove a van into crowds in Barcelona, killing 13 people before fleeing, in what police suspect was one of multiple planned attacks.

Fellow Republicans assail Trump after he defends Confederate monuments

BRIDGEWATER, N.J./WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – President Donald Trump yesteday decried the removal of monuments to the pro-slavery Civil War Confederacy, echoing white nationalists and drawing stinging rebukes from fellow Republicans in a controversy that has inflamed racial tensions.

Venezuela’s new chief prosecutor vows to jail protest leaders

(Reuters) – Venezuela will hunt down and jail leaders of violent protests that have rocked the country since April, its new top prosecutor said yesterday, a day before a hate crimes law was expected to be approved despite fears that it will be used to crush dissent.

South African borders on “red alert” to stop Grace Mugabe fleeing

JOHANNESBURG, (Reuters) – South African police have put a “red alert” on the country’s borders to prevent any attempted flight by Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe, who is accused of assaulting a model in a Johannesburg hotel with an electric cable.

U.S., Japan step up defense cooperation to counter N.Korea

WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – The United States and Japan will step up their defense cooperation to deal with the threat from nuclear-armed North Korea as tensions in East Asia remain high, officials from the two allies said yesterday.

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly.

We built stabroeknews.com using new technology. This makes our website faster, more feature rich and easier to use for 95% of our readers.
Unfortunately, your browser does not support some of these technologies. Click the button below and choose a modern browser to receive our intended user experience.

Update my browser now

×