|Colonel Nguyễn Tiến Sơn, head of the 7th Military Region Military School's Politics Bureau speaks to the press. — VNA/VNS Photo Thu Hoài|
HCM CITY — Claims which surfaced on social media on Wednesday night about two female students being sexually assaulted on a military school campus are false, according to the military school and university officials.
The details were given during a press conference jointly held by the Hồ Chí Minh City University for Foreign Languages and Information Technology (HUFLIT), and the 7th Military Region Military School.
According to Colonel Nguyễn Tiến Sơn, head of the school's Politics bureau, an incident was reported at the 7th Military Region Military School involving a female student.
A student of HUFLIT currently on military training at the campus said VNĐ1.4 million (US$59.72) had gone missing. She then spoke with her roommates and accused another student, N.C.H.H., of theft.
Reportedly, H. became hysterical after the accusation, ran out of her room and screamed, trying to commit suicide by jumping over a balcony. School officials heard the cries and brought the girl to safety, and contacted her parents to bring her home.
The incident was witnessed and recorded by another student living in the opposite dormitory, who was also present at the press conference.
The student then sent the video clips to three friends on a messaging app, but did not provide the context behind the clip.
However, the information coupled with the video clips led viewers to believe the screams were coming from a female student being raped on campus. This led to outrage on social media on Wednesday night, and the disinformation as well as the video clips were shared thousands of times across Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter.
"The information currently circulating online is completely false," said Sơn.
"Student H. is currently at home, and according to her mother, she is suffering from a mental breakdown due to this false information," Sơn added.
Answering questions from the press on the video clip, Sơn confirmed that the footage shared on social media has been doctored with bad intentions. "Many sounds and images which were not present in the original video were added to spread disinformation," Sơn said.
The 7th Military District Military School is currently working with HCMC Police to find out who spread the disinformation and doctored the video clips.
|Two HUFLIT students were brought in as witnesses to provide accounts to the press. Student T. (left) recorded the original undoctored video clip, while the other student is a roommate of student H.. — Photo kenh14.vn|
A female student named T., who recorded the original clip, confirmed what she had witnessed was entirely different from the disinformation spread.
"I was on night watch duty from 9pm on Wednesday, when I heard screams from the opposite building," said T.
"I then started to record the incident on my phone. Many people were stopping a girl from jumping over the balcony and attempting suicide. She was then carried to the ground floor by these people," T. added.
According to T., during the recording, she asked her friend who was also on duty, "Is she (H.H.) being raped?" out of curiosity, but she did not confirm this.
"A teacher later told me the whole story," said T., "After recording the clip, I sent it over to my two friends on duty and a boy. I did not tell them the full context when I sent the clip, but later added that the girl was screaming because of a mental breakdown and not because she was raped."
However, T. did not know whether the boy who sent the clip was also spreading false information or not.
"We are stunned by these false accusations," said Nguyễn Anh Tuấn, Principal of HUFLIT.
"I was sent malicious messages by phone and social media due to this disinformation. However, the truth is the truth, and a good anvil does not fear the hammer," Tuấn added.
Students at public universities in Việt Nam are obliged to enrol in a one-month military training, according to regulations by the Ministry of Education and Training.
According to Colonel Hà Công Chờ, Deputy Head of the school's Politics bureau, female students and male students live separately, and males are not allowed in areas where female students live.
"No one was raped, and no one committed suicide," Chờ said.
After the video clip surfaced on Wednesday night, both HUFLIT and the 7th Military District Military School immediately issued public statements about the incident.
The HCMC Police Department's Cybersecurity and High-Tech Crime Prevention also confirmed the information about the sexual assault on two HUFLIT students was false, in an announcement on Thursday morning.
"The students currently studying at our school campus are currently feeling well, and the training programmes will go on as normal," said Sơn. — VNS