A man in the central province of Quang Nam has been fined VND5 million (US$220) for posting on his website a picture of a woman that he claimed to be a mermaid caught by local fishermen.
Officials said Pham Dac Hau, a mobile phone salesman, run the unlicensed news website Quangnamonline.
On December 18, he posted a story claiming that some fishermen had caught a 48-kilogram mermaid who was sunbathing on a local beach.
The mermaid was admitted into a local hospital for treatment, the story said, citing a "witness" as saying that the fishermen turned down a US$1 million offer from a Japanese man to buy the mermaid.
The preposterous story had been widely spread, sending thousands of readers to the website.
Investigators looked into the case and found out that it had all started with a picture of a woman wearing a mermaid costume. The photo was meant for her wedding.
Hau has shut down the website.