A photo album uploaded by Nguyen Duc Hung on his Facebook page. Hung named the album "Using drugs in prison."
A prison official has offered some key clarifications on the chaotic picture of prison life that emerged from an inmate's Facebook postings.
Officer Nguyen Huu Ky of Tan Lap Prison in Phu Tho Province was referring to the photos posted by Nguyen Duc Hung, a 30-year-old inmate, who is being investigated after posting photos about his daily activities in the prison.
Some photos show inmates freely using cellphones, posing for photos and tattooing each other. One shows them using what many assumed to be drugs.
Ky said Hung had admitted to illegally using a cellphone and he was fined for the act.
Hung told prison officers he accidentally picked up the cellphone in the prison not long ago, and used it to open a Facebook page, according to Ky.
The prison has yet to find another cellphone being used by inmates, Ky said.
As for the alleged drug photo, Ky said they were actually thuoc lao (a rustic rainforest tobacco traditionally smoked in a water pipe).
Ky said Hung and other inmates fashioned a plastic bottle into a water pipe for the purposes of smoking the tobacco; the pipe has since been confiscated.
The prison is still investigating Hung and other inmates.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant General Cao Ngoc Oanh, a senior official of the Ministry of Public Security, said told news website Motthegioi that Hung would be strictly punished for his violations.
Oanh said the prison is located next to a residential area, so it is quite easy for people to "throw" drugs and cellphones into the prison for inmates to use.
Hung is serving time on drug-related charges.
Tan Lap Prison became notorious after police busted a drug ring operating inside its walls in January 2013.
As many as 50 people, many of whom were current or former Tan Lap inmates, are facing charges for their involvement in the trade and are awaiting trial.
By the time it was busted, the ring had operated for an entire year.