Ngo Van Dung

Current Status: Pre-trial detention

Photo of Ngo Van Dung

Other Names: Ngô Văn Dũng

Date of Birth:

Gender: M

Ethnicity: Kinh

Occupation: Journalist

Current Prison: Chi Hoa prison, Ho Chi Minh city

Areas of Activism:

  • Democracy
  • Freedom of expression
  • Human rights
  • Sovereignty
  • Press

Known Afilliations:

  • Hiến Pháp
  • National Movement to Revive Vietnam

May 2020:

According to Nga Kim, the wife of Ngo Van Dung, on May 14, 2020, Dang Thi Kim Xuan, Dung’s attorney, visited him at the Chi Hoa Detention Center. Dung’s wife reported that he had been brutally tortured by prison officials at the No 4 Prison Camp. Dung was then transferred to Chi Hoa Prison Camp where he was hospitalized. Xuan told Kim that Dung had a long scar and soft tissue injuries all over his body. The reason for this beating is unknown.

Details - Background, History of Activism.

Ngo Van Dung is from Buon Me Thuot City, Dak Lak Province, in the Central Highlands.

Dung is a citizen journalist who filmed the June 2018 protests in Vietnam over proposed Special Economic Zones, and he is a member of the pro-democracy organization the National Movement to Revive Vietnam. Two of its leading members, Vu Quang Thuan and Nguyen Van Dien, are currently serving eight and six and a half years in prison, respectively. He is also a member of the Hien Phap constitutional rights group, which aims to educate citizens about their rights under the law.

Three Vietnamese Facebook Users Missing, Feared Detained, Radio Free Asia, September 7, 2018

Nine Members of Constitution Group Arrested in Early September: Facebooker Nguyen Uyen Thuy, Defend the Defenders, September 24, 2018

The 88 Project’s archives

March 12, 2018: detained and questioned after filming protests

March 12, 2018
Dak Lak Province (map)

  • liberty and security of the person
  • freedom of expression

Ngo Van Dung and Nguyen Uyen Thuy, two members of the National Movement to Revive Vietnam, were detained in Dak Lak Province after reporting on protests of teachers who had been laid off. Six hundred teachers had been laid off, prompting public reaction; Dung and Thuy filmed and interviewed some protesters. The two were detained, questioned for several hours, and forced to pay a fine. They were released later in the day. Police also confiscated their cell phones, which they had used to film the protests

Arrested September 4, 2018. Charged under Art. 118 (2015 Code).

September 4, 2018
  • Art. 118 (2015 Code)
Ho Chi Minh city public security, Ho Chi Minh city
District 1, Ho Chi Minh City (map)
  • freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention
  • liberty and security of the person
  • freedom of expression
  • freedom of peaceful assembly
  • freedom of association
  • political participation

Ngo Van Dung was taken into custody on September 4 in Ho Chi Minh City, during a Facebook livestream. For days after the arrest, his situation remained unclear, and many feared he had been formally arrested. Authorities did not give his wife information about his whereabouts, first saying he was in Ho Chi Minh City, and later in Dak Lak province. On September 27, 2018, a fan page supporting the state’s propaganda formally admitted that Ho Chi Minh city’s police arrested nine members of the civil society group Hien Phap, with the intention to investigate for them criminal prosecution. This included Ngo Van Dung. Beginning on September 1, police secretly began to detain the members and withheld information about their detentions from their families. The group had planned to promote peaceful demonstrations in early September.

In early October, Ngo Van Dung’s family finally received an announcement about his temporary detention and prosecution. He was prosecuted by Ho Chi Minh City’s Police under Article 118 of the 2015 Criminal Code for “disrupting security" and is now detained at the Ho Chi Minh City police’s Temporary Detention Center, where he will await trial.

July 2019:

On July 18, 2019, the families of five activists -- Ngo Van Dung, Ho Dinh CuongTran Thanh PhuongDoan Thi Hong, and Hoang Thi Thu Vang -- sent a letter to the Prime Minister and many other government institutions denouncing the fives' unlawful arrests and detentions over a period of more than 10 months. According to the letter, in September 2018, all of the five activists were arrested without official warrants. Since their arrests, they have been held in Ho Chi Minh City's detention center. The public security of Ho Chi Minh City announced to the families that four of them are charged with “disrupting public order” under Article 118 Penal Code, with a possible sentence of between seven and 15 years in prison. All five still await trial.

Kim Nga, Ngo Van Dung’s wife, finally met with him after 11 months of separation. Dung told his wife that he did nothing wrong and he had filed a petition. However, the police didn’t allow Dung to tell Nga what type of petition that he had filed. 

September 2019:

On September 4, 2019, Ngo Van Dung's daughter met with him for the first time since his arrest. Dung told her that he is innocent and that she should follow his case closely.

October 2019:

On October 4, 2019, Kim Nga, wife of political prisoner Ngo Van Dung, brought their children to visit their dad. Before being allowed to meet with him, she had to meet with investigation officers. They asked her about the petitions she had signed. She told the officers that since her husband was unlawfully arrested, she sent a petition claiming his innocence. After 30 minutes of working with the officers, the family was able to meet with Dung. Dung was happy to see his family, which was only the third time in his 13 months of imprisonment thus far. 


Relatives of five detained members of the Hien Phap group, which aims to educate citizens about their constitutional rights, are planning to sue the Ho Chi Minh City Police Department, alleging that their loved ones were arrested without warrants and held for many weeks in unknown locations before the families were notified. The five cases represented are those of Ngo Van Dung, Doan Thi HongHoang Thi Thu VangHo Dinh Cuong, and Tran Thanh Phuong. The families also say that they have not received notice on the various extensions of the fives' investigation periods. All were arrested in September 2018 and remain in pre-trial detention. They have also not been permitted to meet with their lawyers and were only allowed to meet with their families for the first time last month.

Reporters Without Borders called on the EU to delay its vote on the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) in light of Dung’s case.

Profile last updated: 2020-05-18 22:54:21

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