URGENT: Police raided English class of a youth group in Hanoi - Dân Làm Báo

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URGENT: Police raided English class of a youth group in Hanoi

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CTV Danlambao - At 9:30 pm, August 13, 2013, Hanoi police suddenly mobilized its force to "dismantle" the English class of a youth group at 20 Alley No. 56, Gieng Mut Lane, Bach Mai Street, Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi. At least seven young people aged 18 to 29 were arrested and detained at the police station of Truong Dinh Ward, 50 Truong Dinh, Hoang Mai District (Phone: +84 438 632 481).

Reportedly, most of those arrested are those who have participated in the protests against China and other patriotic activities in Hanoi. They are Vu Thi Thuy Linh (Facebook Tam Bao), Pham Van Tien (Facebook VN.Motherland), Ho Duc Thanh, Vu Ngoc Thang (Facebook Thang Vu), Hoang Minh Trang (Facebook Trang Red), Nguyen Vu Hiep (Facebook Florence Knightingale) and the property owner Ly Quang Son.

Currently, they are in police custody and their phones confiscated. Before the incident, Hanoi police have been monitoring this group of English learners.

According to a reporter of Danlambao from Hanoi, when the class was about to start, a group of uniformed police suddenly raided the classroom demanding attendees to show ID card. As noted, the raid was planned in advance because police carried many camcorders for recording.

During the raid some youths quickly made calls for emergency alert but were subdued by police immediately; their phones were also confiscated. Momentarily, everyone was taken to police station of Truong Dinh Ward.

Ho Duc Thanh could call facebooker Nguyen Vu Hiep for help. However, according to facebooker Nguyen Thu Trang, Hiep was arrested by police at Truong Dinh Ward on his way to help his friends.

When the emergency alert message surfaced on the facebook social network, many people have immediately headed to the police station of Truong Dinh Ward to protest against the illegal raid and arrest of people. Relatives of the detainees attempted to enter the police station for questioning but were blocked out. Meanwhile, police department has mobilized an additional force equipped with camcorders to intimidate people.

"One can confirm that this is not an invitation but a brutal repression. Everyone in the class was prevented from making call, family members were not allowed to see anyone without any reason," said facebooker La Viet Dzung.

"Inside and outside police station of Truong Dinh ward, police setup many cameras and camcorders. A plainclothes security agent is operating a spy camcorder inside a vehicle of the 113 Police across the street from the police station," a member of the No-U group said on his facebook.

A plainclothes police in a white shirt threatened to confiscate the phones from some bloggers when they attempted to make questions.

Vu Thi Thuy Linh, one of the young detainees said: "We were studying English when they raided, strangled our neck and dragged us by force to the police station. They prohibited us from using the phone; if we used it they would confiscate it.”

It is not clear why police carried out the arrests. The facbookers are sharing information about the arrests and calling for supports for the young detainees at police station of Truong Dinh Ward.

Through the brutal raid on the group of young English students, did Hanoi police send a message to young Vietnamese people implying that the youths are only allowed to learn Chinese?

* News update: Police released the detainees but still hold their phones and laptops.

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