Profile

Nguyen Phuong Hang

Current Status: Pre-trial detention

Photo of Nguyen Phuong Hang

Other Names: Nguyễn Phương Hằng

Date of Birth: January 26, 1971

Gender: F

Religion: Buddhist

Ethnicity: Kinh

Occupation: Business professional

Areas of Activism:

  • Anti-corruption
  • Freedom of expression

Highlighted Human Rights Concerns:

  • Online commentator

Details - Background, History of Activism, Family Situation.

Nguyen Phuong Hang lives and works in Ho Chi Minh city and Binh Duong Province. Before being arrested, Hang managed one of the biggest theme parks in Southeast Asia and has been involved in the real estate business for most of her career.

Profile photo source: Nguoi Lao Dong Newspaper

Nguyen Phuong Hang is a well-known businessperson to the Vietnamese public. She has been famous for her philanthropy initiatives and activities, such as her family’s charity, Hằng Hữu, in many healthcare institutions in Vietnam. Hang is also active in supporting communities in need, especially serious droughts or floods. However, she was not known for any civil rights activism until 2021.

Hang’s husband, Dung “Lo Voi,” is also a rather well-known local oligarch. Together they have one son.

Arrested March 24, 2022. Charged under Art. 331 (2015 Code).

March 24, 2022
  • Art. 331 (2015 Code)
Ho Chi Minh city public security, Ho Chi Minh city
Ho Chi Minh City (map)
unknown
The People's Court of Ho Chi Minh City
  • freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention
  • liberty and security of the person
  • freedom of expression

Background: 

In Vietnam, with the government's control over civil space, the legal framework for independent organisations is thin. Therefore, not many NGOs can call for contributions and donations for disaster relief. On the other hand, people do not have much trust in the state’s apparatus - such as the Fatherland Front. As a result, celebrities leveraging their personal reputations have been the most effective way to raise funds and call for donations. However, this then comes with the risk of corruption.  

Details: 

Nguyen Phuong Hang gained public attention after a series of her livestreams (on multiple platforms including Facebook and Youtube) disclosed that many A-level celebrities were trying to appropriate people’s donations for disaster relief efforts during 2020. These included the most famous comedian in the country- “Hoai Linh” (Vo Nguyen Hoai Linh), a prominent emcee and actor, “Tran Thanh,” (Huynh Tran Thanh), and many others. 

After successfully turning the story into a national sensation (and also coming out as the victor in the story), Hang started to discuss news, politics, and corruption online. Her outspoken and straight-speaking nature has found her many “enemies,” from state journalists to local Party cadres, singers, and others. 

However, Hang has enjoyed her privilege of speaking freely on the Internet for quite some time (from the beginning of 2021), probably due to her economic status, until March 2022, however, when, Hang started to criticise the Vice Chairman of the People's Council of Ho Chi Minh City, Phan Van Mai. One week later, she was arrested. 

Only after this arrest, many lawsuits previously brought against her were reconsidered by the public security. In these lawsuits, Hang was accused of slander and defamation

The development suggests that her arrest is arguably politically-motivated. 

Update:

The Binh Duong Province public security also announced that they  invwereestigating Hang on the same grounds as the HCMC public security. However, there was no further information on how they would carry out the investigation. 

On May 6 2022, Binh Duong Public Security informed the public that they transferred Hang’s case to HCMC Public Security entirely. 

Profile last updated: 2022-06-04 17:18:52

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