Media managers in the central province of Quang Ngai fined a local man VND10 million (US$472) on Tuesday for attacking reporters covering his employer's illegal sand excavation.
Hoang Duy, director of the province’s Department of Information and Communication, decided the penalty during a meeting with the attacker Bach Ngoc Tuyen, 34, and the four victims, each of whom worked for Tuoi Tre, Quang Ngai, Nong Thon Ngay Nay (Rural Today) Newspapers and the Vietnam News Agency.
Duy said he punished Tuyen according to a government decree issued last November regarding acts that violate a reporter's dignity during the course of their job, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.
Tuyen was also asked to publicly apologize to the reporters, the paper said.
Tuyen stopped the reporters on the street on September 16 while they were driving to a government office to question local officials over unlicensed sand excavation by his employer, the Thanh Dat Company.
When the reporters stopped, Tuyen began kicking, punching and throwing rock at them.
The reporters said they initially learned of the illegal operation after receiving complaints from residents of Nam Phuoc Village in Tu Nghia District.
Thanh Dat won a public contract to excavate a river bed on June 27, but the plan was still being considered by local officials when they began work.
All of the reporters were injured before three local police officers arrived to rescue them. One had to seek for treatment at Quang Ngai General Hospital.
Following the incident, one insisted that Tuyen had threatened to kill them and their families.