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Friday 6 December 2019

Vietnam rioters kill Chinese worker

Firefighters at the main entrance of Tan Than Industries as the Taiwanese bicycle factory burns (AP)
Firefighters at the main entrance of Tan Than Industries as the Taiwanese bicycle factory burns (AP)

A 1,000-strong mob stormed a Taiwanese steel mill in Vietnam, killing at least one Chinese worker and injuring 90 more, the Taiwanese ambassador said today.

It was the first deadly incident in a wave of anti-Chinese protests prompted by Beijing's deployment of an oil rig in disputed seas.

The unrest took place at a mill in Ha Tinh province in central Vietnam, 155 miles south of Hanoi, operated by the conglomerate Formosa Plastics Group, one of the biggest foreign investors in Vietnam.

Ambassador Huang Chih-peng, who spoke to a member of the management team at the mill, said rioters lit fires at several buildings and hunted down the Chinese workers, but did not target the Taiwanese management.

He said that the head of the provincial government and its security chief were at the mill during the riot but did not "order tough enough action".

The ambassador said he was told one Chinese citizen was killed in the riots and around 90 others were injured.

A hospital official doctor at the Ha Tinh General Hospital said some 50 people, most of them Chinese nationals, were admitted to the hospital overnight.

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 an outrageous 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.

On Tuesday and yesterday, 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.

PA Media

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