The incident at An Suong - An Lac tollbooth, Binh Tan District, southwest of Ho Chi Minh City, was a part of a big movement against corruption and abuse of power in the lucrative business of transportation charges all across Vietnam.
Legally speaking, the An Suong - An Lac tollbooth was concluded to be unlawful for operating longer than the allowed period by the Government’s Inspectorate (reportedly, it should have ended in 2017). Drivers also alleged that they are forced to pay for the services they do not use (such as Huong Lo 2 Overpass). However, no preliminary measure has been taken, and this tollbooth has continued to charge vehicles for another two years.
In January 2019, drivers (both residing in the southwest of Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City) started their collective action. On January 7, hundreds of drivers drove to the tollbooth but refused to pay the charge, forcing the tollbooth management to stop collecting fees for the day. On January 14, after a week, the second protest happened. However, this time, the tollbooth management already had some deals with the local public security. Many drivers, including reporter Truong Chau Huu Danh, were kidnapped and detained for 24 hours without any proper warrant. Their cars were also severely damaged, since they were forcefully craned by the security force. Also, according to the reporter, there were around 500 to 600 individuals dressed as public security officers, wardens, and civilians wandering around the tollbooth to intimidate, verbally attack, or even assault any driver trying to participate in the protest.
Ngo Oanh Phuong, detained illegally in an alley because of her protest against An Suong-An Lac BOT (Province: Ho Chi Minh)
Huynh Buu Long, detained illegally in an alley because of his protest against An Suong-An Lac BOT (Province: Ho Chi Minh)