Viet Nam News
HCM City – The HCM City People’s Court yesterday convicted US citizen Nguyen William Anh for disturbing social order and ordered him deported for joining a crowd that caused disorder on June 10 in HCM City.
At the court, William admitted his criminal actions and expressed his regret.
“I very much regret joining the protest. In the future, I would like to come back to Việt Nam and contribute my knowledge to the country,” he said.
The court said the defendant is a US citizen and has no right to join a protest in Việt Nam. His action was illegal and caused serious impact on social order, it said.
The charge of disturbing social order can carry a two- to a seven-year jail sentence.
However, the court decided to expel him from the country, saying that this was the first time William had violated the law and that he had expressed regret for what he had done.
William, born in 1985, began studying for his master’s degree in Singapore in 2016, and often read news on social media about Việt Nam, according to the indictment.
Through the social media, he learned about a protest in HCM City on June 10 to protest a proposed law on Special Administrative Economic Zones and the Law on Cyber Security.
William contacted the accounts of “Vi Trần” and “Anthony T. Nguyen” on the “Đô thành Sài Gòn” Facebook fanpage to find out how he could join the protest in Việt Nam.
He said that he would join the protest without identification and was ready to fight back and escape if he encountered authorities, according to the court.
William entered Việt Nam on June 9 as a tourist at HCM City’s Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport.
On June 10, William joined the crowd in causing disorder in Hoàng Văn Thụ Park in the city’s Tân Bình District, the indictment said. He took photos and posted them on his Facebook and Twitter accounts.
At the Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa - Lý Chính Thắng intersection in District 3, authorities parked four pick-up trucks to stop the crowd on June 10.
William directly asked authorised forces to remove specialised vehicles to allow the crowd to pass, according to the indictment.
When his request was not met, William climbed on a specialised vehicle and called on the crowd to cross, but his effort failed.
Authorised forces recorded his acts on video, which acted as evidence of William’s disturbing social order, according to the indictment.
The city police issued emergency arrest warrants on June 12 for William, followed by a decision to place William in temporary custody and a first-time extension of temporary custody on June 14.
After collecting files and evidence, the municipal police on June 15 issued a decision on commencing criminal proceedings against and temporarily detaining William for disturbing social order. — VNS