Gangs terrorising Catholics while cops look away

Gangs of youths are terrorising Catholics in north-east Vietnam and the police are turning a blind eye.

Wearing red T-shirts with yellow stars and waving national flags, the gangs have been attacking Catholics and their property since the beginning of June.

“The primary motivation behind the incidents is to pressurise local Catholics and the deanery into boycotting and expelling the two priests from Quynh Luu district,” a petition 11 priests have sent to the Government about the attacks says.

The petition goes on to say the Government is seeking to “conceal the truth about the marine catastrophe caused by Formosa and preventing the people’s fight against the steel plant.”

Furthermore, the priests say they think the police are looking the other way instead of helping the victims.

“We see that the attacks have been carried out in an orchestrated manner, and the police know well what is occurring, but are ignoring what is going on.”

Reports about the violence say the gang members ride motorcycles at top speed past police and attack at night, throwing stones at churches and Catholic homes.

So far two people have been severely injured.

The gangs, who are said to be supporters of the Communist Party and criminals from outside the area, have also been going into Catholic businesses and intimidating the owners.

In addition, they have put up banners and collected signatures from locals calling for the expulsion of two priests who helped local fishermen sue the Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corp for compensation last year.

Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corp had caused a marine pollution disaster, spilling toxic waste, including phenol and cyanide, along a 125-mile stretch of Vietnam’s coastline. Hundreds of tonnes of fish died as a result.



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