Vietnam jails five men for violence on Covid-19 task forces

By Staff reporters   April 24, 2020 | 09:05 pm PT
Vietnam jails five men for violence on Covid-19 task forces
From L: Nguyen Dac Tung, Chan Dang Minh and Le Ngoc Linh at a trial of Bac Tu Liem District People's court on April 24, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Van Hiep.
Five men were sentenced Friday to between eight months and four years in prison for violence against Covid-19 task forces in three localities.

In Hanoi's Bac Tu Liem District, Nguyen Dac Tung, 29, received nine months while Le Ngoc Linh and Tran Dang Minh got eight months each.

On the evening of April 4, the three men were drinking and singing karaoke at a grill bar when the task force asked them to disperse. Instead of cooperating, the three men verbally and physically abused the team and Tung punched a police officer of the Phu Dien Ward in the face.

Also Friday, Nguyen Van Thien, 37, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for threatening violence on members of the Covid-19 task force in Van Canh District, Binh Dinh Province in south-central Vietnam.

On April 11, the task force noticed that Thien’s coffee shop had more than 10 customers, violating social distancing norms. When he was asked to close the shop, Thien threatened an officer with a knife. He went to his car, took out an 80 cm knife and chased the officers.

Nguyen Van Thien at the Van Canh District Peoples Court, Binh Dinh Province. Photo by VnExpress/Thach Thao.

Nguyen Van Thien at the Van Canh District People's Court, Binh Dinh Province, April 24, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Thach Thao.

When an officer was making a report at the scene, Thien hit him with a plastic stool, injuring him in the arm. Van Canh District police later arrested Thien, who had also refused to comply with an earlier request made April 4 to close his shop temporarily.

In the northern province of Hai Duong, Le Quang Huy, 37 was sentenced to four years in prison for stealing a thermometer while going through temperature check at a Covid-19 checkpoint. He was sentenced by the province’s Nam Sach District court.

On April 9, at 8 p.m., Huy was going home after drinking at his father-in-law’s house when he was stopped for having his temperature checked. During the process, Huy snatched the thermometer and drove away. Two members of the task force gave chase on their motorbikes, but failed to catch up with him.

Le Quang Huy at the Nam Sach District Peoples Court, Hai Duong Province. Photo by VnExpress/Minh Hanh.

Le Quang Huy at the Nam Sach District People's Court, Hai Duong Province, April 24, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Minh Hanh.

Later that night, he returned the thermometer at another checkpoint in the district and turned himself in at the district police station the next day.

All three violations in the cases listed above occurred while a two-week nationwide social distancing campaign was in force. It required people to stay indoors and not go out except for emergencies or buying food and medicine, and banned the gathering of more than two people in public places.

Many people have been jailed for assaulting and resisting Covid-19 task force members during this period. Thousands have been fined for violating social distancing norms and leaving homes for "non-essential" reasons.

The number of active Covid-19 cases in the country is now 45 after the discharge of 225 patients.

The Covid-19 pandemic has reached 210 countries and territories with a reported death toll of almost 197,000.

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