Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Vietnam: Death of a Vietnamese journalist who was brutally attacked last week

International Freedom of Expression Exchange
Committee to Protect Journalists

Bangkok, January 31, 2011 - The death of a Vietnamese journalist who was brutally attacked last week underscores the urgency for authorities to investigate the case, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Le Hoang Hung, a reporter with the Nguoi Lao Dong (Laborer) newspaper, succumbed to severe injuries in a Ho Chi Minh City hospital over the weekend, according to international news reports.

On January 20, an unknown assailant entered Hung's house in Tan An town, dousing the reporter in chemicals and setting him ablaze. He suffered severe burns on around 20 percent of his body and was in critical condition before his death, according to news reports.

"Le Hoang Hung's death must be fully and independently investigated, and his killer brought to justice," said Shawn Crispin, CPJ's Southeast Asia representative. "Media killings are rare in Vietnam and authorities should act to ensure that a culture of impunity does not begin to take root."

Hung's wife, Tran Thi Lieu, told reporters that he had received threatening text messages on his mobile phone from unknown numbers before the attack. News reports indicate that he had widely covered official misconduct in the country's southern Mekong Delta region.

Police have indicated they are investigating the attack. So far no suspects have been identified or arrests made, according to the reports.