Vietnam arrests famous noodle vendor for ‘anti-state’ acts

Bui Tuan Lam, 38, who runs a beef noodle stand in Danang city, is accused of anti-state propaganda by posting material online that distorts ruling party guidelines and policies, police said in a statement. a press release on Wednesday evening.

It was not immediately clear what incident Lam was arrested for.

In 2021, he was summoned by police for filming himself mimicking the flamboyant moves of celebrity chef Nusret Gökçe, or ‘Salt Bae’, days after Vietnam’s powerful public security minister was filmed eating a gold-encrusted steak at the Turkish chef’s London restaurant. .

“Lam is also a member of numerous ‘civil society organizations’, which are effectively anti-state groups,” the police statement said, adding that authorities had repeatedly warned him against insulting content. leaders, their honor and reputation.

When summoned, Lam had denied mocking the minister over the steak, which sells for up to $2,000. Calls to Lam’s phone on Thursday went unanswered.

Vietnam has been widely criticized for its tough moves to curb online dissent as public appetite for the internet soars and netizens turn to blogs to read about the issues the government-controlled media State shun.

On Thursday, New York-based Human Rights Watch said police should immediately release Lam and stop arresting people for expressing their opinions.

“Authorities routinely define any comment they dislike as ‘anti-state propaganda,’ making Vietnam one of the region’s most skittish governments,” said Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch. Rights Watch for Asia.

“Mockery is a legitimate form of expression that should not be considered a crime.”


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