YouTube personality jailed for anti-state videos

By Hai Thu   July 3, 2023 | 05:50 pm PT
YouTube personality jailed for anti-state videos
Phan Son Tung as he was arrested by the police in September 2022. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Public Security
The Hanoi People's Court sentenced a YouTube personality in the capital to six years in prison on Monday for posting anti-state videos.

Phan Son Tung, 39, owner of the YouTube channel "Vi Viet Nam thinh vuong" (For a prosperous Vietnam), was charged with making, storing, spreading information, materials, and items for the purpose of opposing the State.

Since 2011, Tung has been operating three YouTube channels and using a Facebook account under the name David Phan. All are linked to his channel.

By August 2022, the Facebook account had reposted over 1,000 videos from the three YouTube channels Tung owns. The clips had over 148 million views and 530,000 followers.

Among them, 16 clips had content that violate the law by fabricating information and affecting the reputation of individuals and organizations, the court heard. Through "Vi Viet Nam thinh vuong" channel, Tung posted 10 videos to call for the formation of an illegal organization called "Dang Viet Nam thinh vuong" (Prosperous Vietnam Party), authorities said.

Tung admitted to having planned, filmed and disseminated the videos himself. All of his YouTube channels were monetized, so by the time he was arrested (September 9, 2022), Tung had already received around $80,000.

Tung ordered around 500 caps made, with the words "Vi Viet Nam thinh vuong" printed on them. Each cap cost VND65,000 ($2.74) each to make, and were sold online at VND150,000 each. One-hundred-and-fourteen unsold caps were seized by authorities at his home.

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