Authorities in An Giang Province have announced fines against a teacher and a public utility employee for insulting a provincial leader on Facebook.
Le Thi Thuy Trang, a literature teacher at Long Xuyen High School and Huynh Nguyen Huy Phuc, an employee at the state-owned An Giang Electricity Company, have been ordered to pay VND5 million (US$223) each.
The duo has insulted Vuong Binh Thanh, chairman of An Giang People’s Committee, on Facebook, according to the Department of Information and Communications.
In October, Trang shared a news article about a central government’s proposal to have Thanh disciplined. She commented that he "looks arrogant,” local media reported.
Phuc then commented on Trang’s post. His wife, Phan Thi Kim Nga, deputy spokeswoman of An Giang Department of Industry and Trade, also used his Facebook account to “like” and commented on the same post.
The information department and police later launched an investigation into the case.
Trang admitted that she was responsible for the post. She said she was not aware of potential legal problems.
She has removed the post.
Trang, Phuc and Nga have all been rebuked by their organizations.
According to Truong Minh Thuan, director of An Giang Department of Information and Communication, the fine could have been higher.
Speaking to the media on Monday, Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Bac Son said that it is illegal to insult other people, either in real life or on the Internet.
Violators may face administrative punitive measures and even criminal charges in serious cases, he said.