Lawyers discuss model Ngoc Trinh's arrest

By Nhat Vy   October 21, 2023 | 03:01 pm PT
Attorneys say model Ngoc Trinh was detained because she posted videos of herself haphazardly riding large displacement motorcycles online, not because of the vehicular acts themselves.
Model Ngoc Trinh at a police station in HCMC, Oct. 19, 2023. Photo courtesy of the police

Model Ngoc Trinh at a police station in HCMC, Oct. 19, 2023. Photo courtesy of the police

If the model had simply ridden the motorcycles and not uploaded the footage, she would have been sanctioned for administrative violations only, said lawyer Nguyen Huu The Trach.

"Trinh disturbed public order by publishing videos of herself engaging in daredevil motorcycle moves [rather than by performing such acts]," he said. "Her act may motivate her followers, especially the younger generation, to mimic her."

Local authorities announced Thursday that Trinh and her personal trainer Tran Xuan Dong would be detained for three months for investigation into charges of "disturbance of public order."

Authorities also performed a raid at Trinh’s house and seized several documents.

The detainment came after investigators found that Trinh had posted five videos of herself riding the vehicles on her TikTok channel and her Facebook pages, each of which has millions of followers.

Her videos were then spread even more widely online, receiving strong public criticism, police said, as she performed acts including lying and kneeling on the vehicle’s saddle, and putting both her legs to one side, while driving on roads in Thu Duc City.

Investigators determined that such content "adversely affected public order and safety," and "negatively affected young people's lifestyle and thinking," violating the Code of Conduct for social media behaviors issued by the Ministry of Information and Communication in June 2021.

An investigation also found that Trinh had not obtained a license for driving large displacement motorcycles.

Lawyer Nguyen Van Hau form the Vietnam Bar Federation agreed with Trach’s opinion, saying that the model was not detained because of her daredevil moves. Instead, she was under arrest for "disturbing public order" via the videos on her social media accounts.

According to Hau, because Trinh is a public figure whose social media profiles have large numbers of followers, every move of hers is thus watched and followed by many.

"Trinh’s videos pose a risk of encouraging audiences to copy her acts, which threaten social security, order, and safety," Hau said. "The huge numbers of views those videos attracted was authorities’ foundation for determining that Trinh’s behavior was dangerous for society."

Still, Trach stated that Trinh’s detainment was a relatively "strict" punishment for the model, as investigations are still underway.

He believed Trinh could have been put under investigation without being detained, and could have instead been merely prohibited from leaving the country only.

Coming from a poor family background, Trinh, 34, started her modeling career in 2005 before gaining public recognition with her lingerie and swimsuit photo shoots.

She then became the title winner of the Miss Vietnam International pageant in 2011.

She made her debut as an actress in 2016 with her role in "Vong Eo 56" (Queen of the Bikini), which was based on her life, and has participated in various movie projects since then.

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