A group of people attempt to force into the premise of a company in Binh Duong Province on May 14. Photo: Do Truong
A man is arrested by police in Dong Nai Province for allegedly inciting riots here on May 14. Photo: Le Lam
Police in southern Vietnam have arrested up to 700 people allegedly inciting and participating in rampages that caused great damages to businesses in industrial areas around Ho Chi Minh City on May 13-14.
Police of Binh Duong Province have arrested 599 people for inciting riots and looting, major general Vo Thanh Duc, the local police chief, told Thanh Nien. In adjacent Dong Nai Province, police said they have arrested about 100 people.
According to Binh Duong police, as of May 14 afternoon, the premises of more than 460 local companies had been wrecked and vandalized.
As many as 15 factories had their warehouses set ablaze, which caused billions of dong in losses and left thousands of workers at risk of losing their jobs. Thugs also set 10 business cars on fire.
Some rioters event threw stones at Binh Duong police officers, injuring about 40 of them. Police in Dong Nai meanwhile had to fire tear gas to push back rioting demonstrators.
Tran Van Nam, vice chairman of the Binh Duong People's Committee, said the provincial leaders have instructed concerned agencies to deal with those who took advantage of the situation to cause troubles and vandalize properties of people and businesses.
"We call on everyone to remain calm and exercise restraint... do not follow bad people's instigations to violate the laws," he said.
According to Nam, around 6,000 workers initially held peaceful protests against Chinese oil drilling in Vietnam's territorial waters on Tuesday in the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park 1 (VSIP 1) in Thuan An District.
However, order broke down when numbers swelled to about 20,000.
A number of people incited workers to destroy company properties. Some took advantage of the chaos to loot, commit arson and assault security guards.
Binh Duong police have been worked with police in nearby localities like Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai, Binh Phuoc and Tay Ninh and the Ministry of Public Security to suppress possible riots.
By 7 p.m. May 14 the situation in Binh Duong came under control, police said.