Authorities in the southern province of Binh Duong are openly trying an alleged looter on Sunday, marking the first proceedings to be held against the hundreds of suspects arrested following the riots that took place on May 13.
Chau Minh Tuong will be tried for robbery in proceedings that will remain open to the public, Nguoi Lao Dong (Laborer) newspaper quoted Nguyen Van Thom, chief police in the province’s Tan Uyen District, as saying.
Prosecutors claim Tuong attended protests organized against the incursion of a Chinese oil rig into Vietnamese waters and took advantage of the chaos to loot.
Tuong stands accused of stealing a computer screen, a wifi modem, a scanner, two computer mouses and a keyboard from the Cao Vien Company in Tan Uyen Town.
Police say he was seized while attempting to flee from a squad of company guards and local police.
Relevant agencies say that the stolen property was worth more than VND5 million (US$237). Stealing property valued more than VND2 million is considered a criminal offense under Vietnamese law. Anything below that amount only carries an administrative fine.
Thom said judicial agencies are preparing cases against others involved in the riot and Tuong's trial is one of 117 criminal cases that Binh Duong police have filed since the riot.
Despite the large number of cases, Binh Duong judicial agencies are carrying out investigations, pressing charges while trying to preserve the security and trust of foreign investors, Nguoi Lao Dong reported.
Binh Duong police have already announced the filing of criminal charges against 259 people involved in the riots and released 276 people after hitting them with administrative fines.
On the morning of May 13, around 800 workers in Di An Town and around 5,000 workers at the Giay Thong Dung Company in Thuan An Town staged a demonstration in the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park 1 (VSIP 1) in Thuan An.
The workers waved banners and flags to protest China’s deployment of a giant oil rig in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in the East Sea, internationally known as the South China Sea.
The demonstration began peacefully but turned violent at noon when a number of individuals broke into industrial campuses and demanded that company leaders allow their workers to stop working and join the protests.
A number of people incited the workers to destroy company property. Some took advantage of the chaos to loot and set warehouses on fire.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has instructed relevant agencies to compensate the vandalized companies.
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