Authorities in southern Vietnam’s Binh Duong Province will leave no stone unturned to protect foreign investors and their assets, Tran Van Nam, deputy chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Wednesday.
This assertion followed the arrest of over 440 rioters who took advantage of peaceful marches against China’s illegal deployment of an oil rig to Vietnamese waters to sabotage many factories of foreign-owned enterprises in the province on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“We highly appreciate investors’ contributions to the province in the past years so Binh Duong will continue standing side by side with them as we have done so far,” Nam said.
Local officials will calculate damage suffered by businesses and give financial support to those enterprises which had their property destroyed in the recent riots, he added.
“If there is anything beyond our competence, we will report it to the Prime Minister for instructions,” the deputy chairman said.
Many workers and people peacefully marched on Tuesday and Wednesday to show their patriotism in response to the illegal operation of Chinese drilling rig Haiyang 981 in Vietnamese waters, he said.
The protest marches took place peacefully at first but a number of people later took advantage of them to illegally rush into many companies to smash corporate assets, set fire on factories, loot property, and even attack police officers, the provincial leader said.
Nam emphasized that such violent actions have violated laws and will be strictly punished.
Police have seized more than 440 violent people in Binh Duong Province while around 186 others have been nabbed in Ho Chi Minh City and Dong Nai Province following these riots.
Riots earlier spread from Binh Duong to Ho Chi Minh City and Dong Nai Province, local officials said.
Binh Duong police are coordinating with the Ministry of Public Security to investigate the riots, Nam said.
The rioters wanted to cause instability to the investment environment in Vietnam so they aimed not only at Chinese companies but also at other enterprises owned by Japanese and Korean investors, Nam said.
Binh Duong authorities have called on people to keep calm, act with restraint, and not to be incited to commit illegal acts, the provincial People’s Committee said in a statement released Wednesday.
According to the statement, hundreds of enterprises in Binh Duong – most of which are owned or managed by Chinese, Taiwanese, and Koreans – had their assets destroyed during the chaos as of 1:00 am on May 14.
At least 15 factories were set on fire, causing losses worth billions of dong, and leaving thousands of workers at risk of losing their jobs.
Specifically, some thuggish people stormed into the factory of Diamond Company at My Phuoc 1 Industrial Park in Ben Cat Town late Tuesday when they smashed valuable items and broke glass windows before setting them all on fire at around 5:00 am on Wednesday.
Tens of factories at Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park 1 and Viet Huong Industrial Park were also set ablaze. Some people even made use of the riots to steal assets from the companies at the parks.
As previously reported, the Chinese rig is now located at 15°29’58’’ North latitude and 111°12’06’’ East longitude in the East Vietnam Sea, within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, according to the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The platform has been positioned there since May 1 despite strong protests from Vietnam.