State-run firm exec faces charges for sending death threats to city leader in Vietnam

By Phuong Son   August 30, 2017 | 04:26 am PT
He claimed he was upset that his villa was being taken away for a tourism project in Da Nang, so he wanted to hit back at authorities.

Police at the Ministry of Public Security are pressing charges against a vice director of a state-owned company for sending death threats to Huynh Duc Tho, the mayor of the central city of Da Nang, and his family.

According to the police, Dao Tan Cuong, vice director of the Da Nang branch of Petrolimex Aviation Fuel JSCadmitted that he had sent the messages, saying his villa on Son Tra Peninsula, home to the biggest langur population in Vietnam, had been requistioned to make way for tourism development, so he wanted to hit back at authorities.

Cuong is also the brother of Dao Tan Bang, the chief of staff of Da Nang's Communist Party unit.

Other leaders also received similar threats from undisclosed senders, prosecutors said. It remains unclear if Cuong had also sent them out.

Under Vietnam’s Penal Code, a person who sends death threats can be convicted if they cause the recipient undue concern or if there is evidence that they will carry out the threats.

Punishments range from three to seven years in jail. Vietnam's top prosecutors' agency will consider ratifying the charges.

The tourism plan for Son Tra is being revised after receiving strong public criticism, including an online petition lodged by Da Nang's tourism association.

The peninsula, which covers more than 4,400 hectares (10,880 acres) and rises to 700 meters at its peak, acts as a natural shield for Da Nang.

Home to hundreds of species of fauna, including 22 endangered animals, the peninsula is best known for the world’s largest population of the endangered red-shanked douc langur.

The plan was to develop a resort on the eastern part of Son Tra would have covered around 2,900 hectares (7,170 acres), or around half of the peninsula.

Experts and the public said it would have robbed Da Nang of its precious green space and turned the popular tourist city into "the most suffocating" area in Vietnam.

Concerns were raised after images of forests being cleared for construction were posted on social media.

The prime minister will have the final say on the project.

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