Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Rioters storm steel mill in Vietnam, killing 1 Chinese and injuring 90 amid anger over oil rig

Firefighters stand across from the main entrance of Tan Than Industries as the Taiwanese bicycle factory burns, in Di An Town, Binh Duong province, Vietnam, Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Mobs burned and looted scores of foreign-owned factories in Vietnam following a large protest by workers against China's recent placement of an oil rig in disputed Southeast Asian waters, officials said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Jeff Nesmith)

Enlarge Image

Firefighters stand across from the main entrance of Tan Than Industries as the Taiwanese bicycle factory burns, in Di An Town, Binh Duong province, Vietnam, Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Mobs burned and looted scores of foreign-owned factories in Vietnam following a large protest by workers against China's recent placement of an oil rig in disputed Southeast Asian waters, officials said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Jeff Nesmith)

HANOI, Vietnam - A 1,000-strong mob stormed a Taiwanese steel mill in Vietnam overnight, killing at least one Chinese worker and injuring 90, Taiwan's ambassador said Thursday, the first deadly incident in a wave of anti-China protests prompted by Beijing's deployment of an oil rig in disputed seas.

The spreading unrest is emerging as a major challenge for Vietnam's authoritarian and secretive leadership, and is damaging the country's reputation as an investment destination. Companies from Taiwan, many of which employ significant numbers of Chinese nationals, are bearing the brunt of the protests and violence.

The overnight riot took place at a mill in Ha Tinh province in central Vietnam, 250 kilometres (155 miles) south of Hanoi, operated by the conglomerate Formosa Plastics Group, one of the biggest foreign investors in Vietnam, according to Ambassador Huang Chih-peng and local hospital officials.

Huang, who spoke to a member of the management team at the mill Thursday morning, said rioters lit fires at several buildings and hunted down the Chinese workers, but did not target the Taiwanese management. He said the head of the provincial government and its security chief were at the mill during the riot but did not "order tough enough action."

He said he was told one Chinese citizen was killed in the riots, while another died of natural causes during the unrest. He said around 90 others were injured

A doctor at the Ha Tinh General Hospital said about 50 people, most of them Chinese nationals, were admitted to the hospital Wednesday night and early Thursday morning. He didn't give his name because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Huang said the rioters left the complex at 6 a.m., but he feared they "might be going for a rest and could come back."

Anti-Chinese sentiment is never far from the surface in Vietnam, but it has surged since Beijing deployed an oil rig into disputed waters in the South China Sea on May 1. The government protested the move as a violation of the country's sovereignty and sent a flotilla of boats to the area, which continue to bump and collide with Chinese ones guarding the rig, raising the risk of conflict.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, mobs burned and looted scores of foreign-owned factories in southern Vietnam near Ho Chi Minh City, believing they were Chinese-run, but many were actually Taiwanese or South Korean. Authorities said they had detained more than 400 people.

Ambassador Huang said the mill in Ha Tinh is Vietnam's largest foreign-invested project, and one of the largest integrated steel mills in Southeast Asia. It employs 1,000 Chinese nationals, he said. Vietnamese Prime Minster Nguyen Tan Dung attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the complex in 2012.

Low wages, especially compared to next-door China, have been driving investment in Vietnam over the last years.

Investors and analysts said that if order wasn't restored quickly, then investor confidence could take a hit.

"If this madness continues and spreads out in the next couple of days to other parts of Vietnam, definitely it will have a very damaging effect on exporters, because they might not be able to commit to their delivery day," said Willy Lin, who heads a Hong Kong trade group representing knitwear manufacturers and exporters.

Hong Kong-based contract clothing maker Lever Style, which started outsourcing production to Vietnamese factories three years ago, has sent some Chinese quality assurance and technical support staff working at those factories back to China as a safety precaution, said CEO Stanley Szeto.

"You always have these little hiccups, no matter where you go," Szeto said. "Other than our staff, we're not really affected."

___

Associated Press writer Kelvin Chan in Hong Kong contributed to this report.

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
Sudden Surge: Flood of 2014
Opportunity Magazine — The Bakken
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media