A court in the northern province of Dien Bien Tuesday handed down jail terms to eight people for inciting public disorder while demanding the establishment of an ethnic H'Mong kingdom last year.
Two of the defendants were sentenced to 30 months in prison each, while six others received 24-month jail terms each, Vietnam News Agency reported that day. They were all charged with disturbing public security.
After completing their sentences, the defendants, who are all members of the ethnic H'Mong community, will be kept under surveillance for another 24 months, the agency quoted the Dien Bien People's Court verdict as saying
According to the indictment, the defendants joined an organization, headed by Vang A La and Thao A Lu, who are still at large, to tempt H'Mong people in provinces like Lao Cai and Lai Chau to gather at Muong Nhe District's Huoi Khon Village to welcome the "H'Mong King," a report on the Nhan Dan (People) news website said.
They told the people that the world was ending and encouraged them to ask for the establishment of the "kingdom" of the H'Mong people, the report said.
Between April 30 and May 6, thousands of people gathered at the village, and the organization then set up security posts to stop local authorities from entering, according to the news website.
However, after local agencies made things clear to them, the people returned home.
The board of judges said the defendants were illiterate and did not know that their doings caused harm to the society.