A court in the southern province of Dong Nai has handed jail terms of up to six months to two workers for looting a Taiwanese gold club manufacturer during an anti-China riot that erupted last month.
Phan Van Giau, 21, from the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap, received six months in jail. His 19-year-old colleague, Thach Quy, got five months. Quy is from the Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh.
The duo were convicted Friday of stealing some belongings worth VND3.5 million (US$165) from their employer, Minh An Company, during a riot that broke out at this Taiwanese-owned firm along with other businesses at the industrial park No. 3 in Dong Nai's Nhon Trach District on May 14.
The riot broke out after workers joining peaceful demonstrations against a Chinese oil rig placed in Vietnamese waters were instigated to vandalize Chinese-owned factories in the industrial park.
Taiwanese businesses, mistaken for being Chinese, suffered the most.
Security guards caught Giau and Quy sneaking the stolen items -- five golf clubs, a two-piece computer speaker system, and a wristwatch -- out of the industrial park on a motorcycle.
The jury said though this case had not caused severe damage to properties, it badly affected Dong Nai’s investment climate.
In related news, police in the northern province of Thai Binh arrested 10 people and placed 11 others under house arrest for investigations into the alleged looting at a Chinese steel firm and the purchase of the looted items.
Of these 21 people, 18 allegedly took advantage of a crowded protest against the Chinese oil rig at Shengli company on May 14 to loot its properties.
The stolen items included eight CPUs, six computer screens, a laptop, 2,000 kilograms of steel, copper, and aluminum, two motorcycles, and seven electric motors.
Protests against the Chinese rig began with peaceful demonstrations across the country on May 11 but erupted into two days of rioting in Binh Duong, Dong Nai, and Ha Tinh on May 13-14.
The Vietnamese government said it would strictly punish rioters to prevent similar events in the future.
It also pledged to assist companies affected by the riots with tax breaks, rent waivers and lines of credit.