Bach Hung Duong

Current Status: Sentenced to prison

Photo of Bach Hung Duong

Other Names: Bạch Hùng Dương

Date of Birth: 1975

Gender: M

Ethnicity: Kinh

Occupation: NGO worker

Areas of Activism:

  • Press

Ahead of Earth Day, we released our new report, Weaponizing the law to prosecute the Vietnam Four, which details our investigation into the charges of tax evasion against four prominent climate activists, finding those prosecutions to be politically-motivated. The Washington Post Editorial Board highlighted the report and has called for the activists’ release from prison.

The Vietnamese version of the report is available here.

Details - Background, History of Activism.

Bach Huong Duong is an experienced NGO worker who lives and works in Hanoi. At the time of his arrest, Duong was the director of Media in Educating Community, a prominent NGO founded by Mai Phan Loi.

Bach Hung Duong at his trial. Source.

Duong is not known for his activism. However, he has worked and contributed in the field of public-private participatory development for a long time. 

Arrested June 24, 2021. Sentenced to 2 years 3 months in prison under Art. 200 (2015 Code). Expected Release is September 24, 2023.

June 24, 2021
  • Art. 200 (2015 Code)
Hanoi city public security, Hanoi
Hanoi (map)
January 11, 2022
The People's Court of Hanoi, Hanoi
2 years 3 months in prison
September 24, 2023
  • freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention
  • liberty and security of the person
  • fair trial

The non-profit Media in Educating Community (MEC) is a prominent NGO. It has worked to promote free and critical thinking, freedom of information and civic education. Their partners include the Embassy of the United Kingdom and the Embassy of the United State of America in Vietnam. Duong was the Director of MEC from 2014 to 2021.

According to the official indictment, Duong has been an accomplice and supported Mai Phan Loi’s tax evasion activities. Specifically, the Public Security insisted that MEC did not properly operate the NGO in accordance with the tax standards of the country. 

On January 11, 2022, the Hanoi People's Court sentenced Bach Hung Duong to 30 months in prison on charges of “tax evasion” under Article 200 of the 2015 Criminal Code. As with Loi, Duong has been given a “ban of undertaking managerial positions, and will be prevented from practice or work in the field of taxation within a period of five years after his release.” 

State media reported that from 2014 to 2021, Duong had supported Loi in evading more than VND 878 million dong (US $38,640) from financial contributions worth nearly 20 billion dong (US$ 880,200) that the MEC had received from domestic and foreign donors. As Duong only received a salary from MEC as the director and legal representative of the organization, and did not benefit from the “tax evasion activities,” therefore, the full amount of compensation of 2 billion dong (US$ 88,020) will be on Loi’s account. 

According to the Procuracy, Duong was fined because he has a B.A. degree in economic law, and must have been aware of the amount of money that MEC received from domestic and foreign organizations and should have declared and paid taxes according to regulations.

Many believe that the ongoing crackdown against these NGOs is connected with their attempts to build up a coalition of NGOs under the EVFTA framework. These organizations can play an important role in monitoring Vietnam’s obligations under EVFTA. Read our analysis of the situation here

Note: We believe that his arrest date was June 24, 2021, the same as Mai Lan Phoi, however we are unable to verify this date. We will update this if further information becomes available.

Note: Duong was originally sentenced to 30 months in prison, which was reduced to 27 months on appeal. 

August 2022:

At his appeal trial, Mai Phan Loi had his sentence reduced from 48 months to 45 months. The former chairman of the Committee for Scientific Affairs of the Center for Media in Educating Community (MEC) was convicted of tax evasion. He’s said to have returned about $50,000 of the $80,000 in taxes owed.

At the same trial, MEC’s director Bach Hung Duong also had his sentence reduced from 30 months to 27 months. The reduction was due to Duong not receiving any benefit from the evasion, and also because he was suffering from an unspecified illness.

According to the wife of political prisoner Dang Dinh Bach, the appeal trials of Mai Phan Loi and Bach Hung Duong were originally scheduled for May 2022 but postponed. 

August 2022:

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) urges international rights groups to oppose the arrest and conviction of environmental NGO leaders using vague “tax evasion” charges. The FIDH “strongly condemns the unfair convictions, ongoing arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Dang Dinh Bach, Mai Phan Loi, Bach Hung Duong and Nguy Thi Khanh, as it seems to be only aimed at punishing them for their legitimate environmental and human rights activities.”

Profile last updated: 2023-09-28 15:18:43

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