Vietnam province beefs up security to calm investors' nerves

By Nguyen Dung, Thanh Nien News

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Chinese workers got back to work at Vung Ang Economic Zone in the central province of Ha Tinh on May 16, after a mass brawl two days before / PHOTO: NGUYEN DUNG
Authorities in the central province of Ha Tinh said they have tightened security for foreign investors and workers, especially Chinese nationals, following a deadly brawl between Vietnamese and Chinese workers.
Vo Kim Cu, chairman of Ha Tinh People’s Committee, met representatives of Chinese Embassy and Consulate General as well as Chinese contractors and investors operating at Vung Ang Economic Area on Friday.
He said local agencies were trying their best to handle matters related to the mass scuffle that left one Chinese worker dead and 149 others, both Vietnamese and Chinese workers, injured on Wednesday.
On Friday many Chinese investors and workers resumed their work, according to Cu.
He also said that local authorities would pay all treatment costs for the injured.
Nearly 100 students from Ha Tinh Medicine College volunteered to take care of injured Chinese workers at Ha Tinh General Hospital, as their families were not with them.
In response, a representative of the Chinese delegation thanked Ha Tinh’s authorities for their efforts to protect Chinese citizens, and expressed hope to collaborate with them in handling matters related to the case.
The brawl happened at the construction site of a steel mill project owned by Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics Group, amid Vietnamese workers’ on-site protests against China’s recent positioning of an oil rig in Vietnamese waters.
About 5,000 Vietnamese and 1,000 Chinese workers joined the brawl, after someone among the protesters reportedly claimed that a Vietnamese worker had been beaten to death.
During the fight, three temporary dwellings for workers were set on fire and looting was also reported.
Local police later arrested 76 people on charges of “causing public disorder,” “robbery” and “property damage.”
As tensions between Vietnam and China over the East Sea issues were flared up by the oil rig, Vietnamese have held anti-China rallies across the country.
Some of them, however, took violent turns since early this week in Ho Chi Minh City, the southern provinces of Dong Nai and Binh Duong and Ha Tinh, with rioters looting, burning and vandalizing factories and offices of hundreds of foreign companies.
This has prompted Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to order officials at every level of the government to tighten security for foreign investors, prevent further riots, and punish violators.
Over 1,000 people have been arrested for rioting in central and southern Vietnam.

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