Profile

Nguyen Quynh Phong

Current Status: Sentenced to prison

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Other Names: Nguyễn Quỳnh Phong

Date of Birth: 1986

Gender: M

Ethnicity: Kinh

Occupation: Driver

Areas of Activism:

  • Anti-corruption
  • Freedom of expression

Details - Background, History of Activism.

Phong is a taxi driver and lives and works in Chi Linh, Hai Duong Province.

Phong is an ordinary citizen with no prior activism record. He simply feels that the location of the Pha Lai tollbooth and how it deals with surrounding local residents is unjust, hence his participation in a civil dispute with the management of Pha Lai tollbooth. 

Build Operate Transfer (BOT) is a lucrative business in Vietnam where the corporations bid to work on certain infrastructure projects in exchange for the right to charge fees to its users. Since 2017, a wave of national protests against these toll booths has emerged. Up until now, dozens of activists and citizens have been jailed for opposing the installation and operation of these tollbooths across the country.

Arrested January 4, 2019. Sentenced to 3 years in prison under Art. 318 (2015 Code). Expected Release is January 3, 2022.

January 4, 2019
  • Art. 318 (2015 Code)
Que Vo District public security, Bac Ninh province
Tollbooth BOT Pha Lai, Que Vo District, (map)
July 30, 2019
The People’s Court of Que Vo District, Bac Ninh province, Bac Ninh province
3 years in prison
January 3, 2022
  • freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention
  • liberty and security of the person
  • freedom of expression
  • freedom of peaceful assembly
  • fair trial
  • political participation

Local residents began to protest against Pha Lai tollbooth right after the central government allowed the tollbooth to charge road users, starting on December 24, 2018. Several of the protests were recorded and published online. On December 29, 2018, activist Ha Van Nam contacted Nguyen Huynh Phong to ask how he could help the local residents. On December 31, 2018, Nam, along with Nguyen Quynh Phong, Le Van Khien, Nguyen Tuan Quan, Vu Van Ha, Ngo Quang Hung, and Tran Quang Hai, with over 100 local drivers, drove to BOT Pha Lai and refused to pay the tickets. There was no brawl or excessive measures used by the protesters. These drivers drove away at the end of the day, and the alleged damage of the tollbooth was only 27 million Vietnamese Dong. 

However, somehow, the public security forces finished their “investigation” in three days and formally charged the protesters on January 3, 2019. 

The first six suspects were arrested in January, 2019, and Ha Van Nam was arrested on March 5, 2019, two months later. They were tried in the same trial on July 30, 2019, and considered “accomplices” by the authority.

Profile last updated: 2020-09-11 03:36:13

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