Hoa Hao Buddhist group beaten, arrested

(VNRN) – A group of Hoa Hao Buddhists and their friends, on the way to visit a fellow Hoa Hao friend in Dong Thap province, were ambushed by police, badly beated, and arrested on Feb. 12.

A group of 21 people were on motorcycles traveling from Ho Chi Minh City to Dong Thap, 140 km west, to visit Nguyen Bac Truyen, a former prisoner of conscience who was recently arrested brutally and whose home was recently ransacked by local police.

At Lap Vo district, the group was stopped by traffic police. More police, both men and women, suddenly appeared and attacked the group.

“They were ambushing us, we have no idea from where,” said one of the victims, Huynh Anh Tri, to Radio Free Asia.

The people in the van were choked, beaten, hit with batons and bamboo sticks, causing many people to faint, sources say. Police also stole their money, cell phones, and personal identifications. 

After the attack, all twenty-one individuals were transported to Lap Vo District’s police headquarter where they were interrogated.

More than twenty-four hours later, 18 were released. Three people were held in detention, including Nguyen Thi Thuy Quynh, Nguyen Van Minh, and a prominent lands’ right activist, Bui Thi Minh Hang.

Hang is an outspoken advocate for peasants whose land were confiscated. She previously had been detained numerous times, including a six-month stay in a rehabilitation concentration camp.

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