Vietnam arrests three over porn websites

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Police have arrested three people for running a pornographic in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday, according to Ministry of Public Security investigators.

One of the sites, phimvang.com, was launched in 2008 offering free downloads of normal mainstream films. It was created by a man known only as "N."

After two months of ineffective operation, "N" announced plans to sell the domain when his two co-defendants proposed to add adult content to the site.

Sex clips and videos were included the following year when the website's administrators decided they wanted to attract more visitors, investigators said, adding that it received between 70,000 and 100,000 hits a day.

In August 2009, the trio set up a company, Aviva Media Joint Stock Company, in order to provide registered invoices to their customers and to operate another website, phimvang.vn with the same content.

Investigators said that, by March 10, the website had 100,000 members. It received 150,000 hits a day.

According to VnExpress news website, the trio earned up to VND30 million (US$1,500) a month for running the site - the equivalent of around 18 months' average salary in Vietnam.

Investigators have shut down the website and are continuing their investigation into the operation.

In December 2009, the Ho Chi Minh City People's Court handed jail terms of up to two years to four men for running a pornographic website that attracted around 100,000 hits a day.

The men were found guilty of "disseminating debauched cultural products" by the city People's Court.

Nguyen Tang Truong, 26, claimed in court that he established the website mocxi.com with the initial aim of providing sex education to teenagers.

But after the website attracted a lot of visits, he turned it into a pornography site and earned between $200 and $400 a month from advertising revenues, Truong said.

He then hired Lam Duong Hieu, 29, Tong Anh Hoang, 57, and Nguyen Do Cong, 30, as administrators to help him manage the website.

The website was shut down in November 2008.

Producing and distributing pornography is a crime that can carry a jail term of up to 15 years in Vietnam.

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