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On July 1, 2012, Blogger Vi Hoang Nguyen participated in a demonstration against China, where she was interrogated and illegally arrested by Vietnamese national security agents. After the incident, she was followed daily by secret agents who captured photographs of her every move. Friday, July 13, 2012, was no exception. The secret agents trailed behind her as she visited her mother in the hospital and continued to follow as she attended a birthday party for her friends.
About 50 Vietnamese bloggers, including Vi Hoang Nguyen, were gathered at Huong Dong Restaurant 4 (Binh Thanh District, Saigon) to celebrate the birthdays of bloggers Tien Kim Trinh, Trang Dem, and Hang Minh Bui. During the party, approximately 20 secret agents disguised as gangsters arrived around the bloggers, eavesdropping on their conversations and secretly taking pictures of them. The bloggers remained calm and enjoyed the party because they were so familiar with the tricks of the secret agents who had terrorized them every day.
At about 10:30PM, after giving Tien Kim Trinh, Hang Bui, and Trang Dem birthday wishes and gifts, the group members said goodbye to each other and headed their separate ways.
After they left the party, the car of Vi Hoang Nguyen, Hang Bui, Lee Nguyen, Quyet Le and Mrs. Tan Thi Duong (blogger Dieu Cay's wife) was immediately followed by eight secret agents. As their car rolled onto Dinh Tien Hoang St, Binh Thanh District, Saigon, the secret agents drove closely behind, forced the car to reduce its speed, and then smashed the back window on the passenger side. Hang Bui, Lee Nguyen, and Vi Hoang Nguyen were seated in the back seat and were injured by sharp, broken glass. These injuries included serious bleeding, particularly for Vi Hoang Nguyen on her arms, legs, and face.
The smashed window of the car
Facing a life-threatening situation, Quyet Le, who was driving the car, decided not to stop. He figured that it was best to continue until they had found a police station to ask for help. The eight "gangster agents” still followed them closely. When he stopped next to the sidewalk to ask local people for directions to the police station, the eight "gangsters" smashed the rear window (backglass). The innocent bystanders were terrified of the brutal actions of these agents and dared not to help or get involved.
When overhearing one blogger ask a bystander where the police station was located, one of the eight "gangsters" answered, "I am a police agent, just go ahead and call the police!"
The bloggers kept looking for a nearby police station. When the car drove by the Vietnamese People Army Base Number 7 on Hoang Van Thu Street, Tan Binh District, Saigon, the bloggers stopped the car at the front entrance and asked the guards for help. Two soldiers came out and asked them for their story. Meanwhile, the "gangster agents" did not leave the scene. They continued to stalk the group of bloggers from behind and used a cell phone to contact someone for unknown reasons.
After a moment, the supervisor of the army base came out and told the bloggers that he had notified the police. He stated that this matter should be resolved by police, not the soldiers at the army base. They did not want to get involved in the situation.
The group continued to drive home while still being followed by the agents. Due to a safety issue concerning Hang Bui, the group decided to stop at a nearby hotel to let her stay there overnight. The rest of the bloggers went home with some bloody injuries and bruises.
Blogger Hanh Nhan and attorney Luat Tran Le were also followed that night by the "agents," but they drove around and around until they finally lost the "gangsters."
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