Vietnamese province dismisses rumors of top legislator's misuse of state cars

By    October 31, 2016 | 12:22 am PT
Vietnamese province dismisses rumors of top legislator's misuse of state cars
Vietnam's National Assembly's chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan (L). Photo courtesy of the National Assembly Office
Officials say the pseudo-scandal was intended to slander state officials.

There is no truth to the rumor that the chairwoman of Vietnam's National Assembly was accompanied by a motorcade on a personal trip back to her hometown, said local authorities in the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre.

A clip showing a line of luxury vehicles traveling across a town in Ben Tre on Friday went viral on Facebook over the weekend. Social media criticism went into overdrive in response to information that the convoy of 57 cars was an entourage of the legislature’s chairwoman, Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, for her homecoming trip.

The video, apparently recorded on a smartphone, was posted with a caption reading “the National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan was escorted by a motorcade on a visit to her hometown in Ben Tre.” Police were reportedly closing the road and dozens of government vehicles joining the motorcade.

Responding to the video, many people on the social networking site were critical, saying that state officials are only allowed to drive with a blue light on the roof and cut through traffic while on government business. Some said top officials can be accompanied by police motorcades but these privileges should not be abused.

Ben Tre’s authorities have confirmed that the rumor spreading on Facebook was false and contained misleading information intended to slander state officials.

Provincial authorities said the clip actually showed a local convoy carrying officials to an annual two-day defense exercise in Ben Tre on October 27 and 28.

The clip is no longer available on Facebook.

Authorities are tracking down the person or persons who spread the rumor.

Social media is playing an increasingly important role in scrutinizing the government as Vietnamese people are more willing to express their opinions, including their grievances, on social platforms.

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