Amnesty Report Says Vietnamese Company Supplies Jet Fuel to Myanmar Military Despite Sanctions

Amnesty Report Says Vietnamese Company Supplies Jet Fuel to Myanmar Military Despite Sanctions

Amnesty: Data Suggests Vietnam Company Is Supplying Fuel to Junta-Ruled Myanmar Despite International Sanctions 

According to a recent report published by Amnesty International, a Vietnamese company called Hai Linh Co. Ltd. had allowed its storage unit, Cai Mep Petroleum, to supply seven shipments loaded with aviation fuel to the junta-ruled Myanmar in 2023, despite sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union, and the United Kingdom.

The report says that the military regime in Myanmar may have shifted its supply chain of aviation fuel to Vietnam since sanctions were passed due to its grave human rights abuses. Buyers in Myanmar reportedly can no longer purchase fuel directly and so rely on third-party sources to supply them with the same energy to distance themselves from the original supplier.

According to Amnesty, airstrikes conducted by the Myanmar military killed or injured hundreds of civilians nationwide in 2023, so the best way to prevent further casualties is “to stop all jet fuel imports into the country.”

However, vessel tracking data, satellite imagery, and customs and trade data collected by Amnesty show that seven vessels have stopped to pick up jet fuel from a storage unit owned by Hai Linh Co. Ltd., located near Ho Chi Minh City, before departing for Myanmar in April, May, June, July, August and December 2023.

The report states that the original supplier sells the jet fuel to a trader, who then supplies it to a Vietnamese company, which uses the Cai Mep storage facility to store the supply. After storing the fuel for a few hours to several days the fuel is then delivered to Myanmar by vessel.

Former Vietnamese Prisoner Accuses Police of Taking His Money

Le Van Sinh, 59, a former political prisoner, has accused the police in Ninh Binh Province of confiscating 400 million dong ($16,260) from the trunk of his motorbike before his arrest in February 2019. Sinh completed his five-year sentence on a charge of “abusing democratic freedoms” on Feb. 15. His arrest and conviction resulted from his vocal criticisms of local officials of Hoa Lu Commune in Ninh Binh, accusing them of corruption and issuing improper land rights certificates to local households.

Five years ago, Sinh was summoned to the provincial police headquarters regarding his online accusations. He arrived on his motorbike and parked in front of the police station. Sinh said he left 400 million dong in cash in the vehicle trunk, which he took to repay a bank loan. The police detained him right after the questioning and returned his motorbike to his ex-wife. But the money was allegedly missing when she retrieved the motorbike the same day.

The Ninh Binh political prisoner denounced his detention and spoke about the missing money during his trial in September 2019, but he said no relevant agency responded to his claim. The Ninh Binh Procuracy alleged that Sinh had used two Facebook accounts to publish “distorted, defamatory statements” on the policies of the government and the Vietnamese Communist Party. Sinh hired a lawyer to defend him, but he said the lawyer told him to plead guilty at the trial.

According to Le Van Sinh, several households in Hoa Lu, Gia Vien, and Nho Quan districts in Ninh Binh Province were not granted land use rights certificates by the local government even though they were eligible. It prompted him to appeal to the district government about his and other families’ cases and accuse several local officials of corruption in constructing public projects.

Former Administrator of Online Dissident Fanpage Reportedly Tortured in Police Custody

Phan Tat Thanh, the former administrator of a critical Facebook page called “Nhat Ky Yeu Nuoc” (A Patriot’s Diary), told his family during a visit on Feb. 16 that he was tortured while in the custody of the Security Investigation Agency of the Ho Chi Minh City Police Department. Thanh’s family reported the accusation during an interview with Radio Free Asia (RFA) on Feb. 21. Thanh, 39, has been detained since July 2023 on the charge of “distributing anti-state propaganda” under Article 117 of the Penal Code.

Thanh’s parents met him at Detention Camp No. 4 in Ho Chi Minh City on Feb. 16, 2024. As they conversed through a thick glass partition, Thanh told his mother, Trinh Thi Nam My, that police investigators had tortured him during the investigation period to make him confess to his alleged anti-state activities. My said her son looked very thin and seemed to have lost a lot of weight, adding that he walked weakly and unsteadily.

My added that the detention authorities made Thanh wear a mask and a long-sleeved shirt and pants so they could not see if he had any bruises on his body. Phan Tat Chi, Thanh’s father, said that before the arrest, his son was healthy and weighed about 70 kg, but now looked weak and appeared to weigh less than 50 kg. Chi claimed that before the police officially arrested Thanh, they held him in a hotel room in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, where they allegedly tied him to a chair and beat him.

The family hired defense attorney Tran Dinh Dung and said that Dung would register to defend Thanh that week. According to his parents, Thanh said he would not cooperate with the investigation agency without the presence of his lawyer. 

Chinese Coast Guard Patrols Vietnam’s Economic Exclusive Zone

China Coast Guard ship Haijing-5901, often referred to as “The Monster” due to its enormous size, has returned to Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to conduct patrols near Vanguard Bank, called bãi Tư Chính in Vietnamese, where Vietnam’s critical oil and natural gas fields are located. While conducting its patrols in Vietnam’s offshore oil and gas fields, the Chinese ship has been shadowed by Vietnam’s fisheries surveillance vessel Kiem Ngu 261, said Ray Powell, director of the U.S.-based SeaLight project, who first spotted the ship.

According to Atlas News, the Chinese cutter conducted its patrol in the same area from early Dec. 2023 to early Jan. 2024 before returning to a port in China’s Hainan Province. Another Chinese coast guard vessel, numbered 5402, continued to patrol in Vietnam’s and other Southeast Asian EEZs until early February this year.

The SeaLight project found that this 12,000-ton Chinese vessel had mainly been running “dark” operations, meaning they had not broadcast its automatic information system (AIS) since its departure from the Sanya Port at Hainan Island on Nov. 14 last year. However, there have been three exceptions when the vessel turned on its AIS, which were on Dec. 9 and Dec. 29 and, most recently, on Jan. 7.

Analysts believe these patrols are a key part of China’s strategy to reinforce its expansive maritime claims in disputed waters in the South China Sea. Gaute Friis, an analyst at the SeaLight project at Stanford University, wrote, "China aims to establish a continuous presence and gradually normalize its maritime activities in these areas” by conducting these patrols.

According to RFA, the Chinese “monster” ship is armed with heavy machine guns and has a helicopter platform and a hangar capable of accommodating larger rotary-wing aircraft.

Vietnam Insight: Learn more about Vietnam

Vietnam to collect biometrics - even DNA - for new ID cards

The Register/Laura Dobberstein/ Feb. 20

“The ID cards are issued to anyone over the age of 14 in Vietnam and are optional for citizens between the ages of 6 and 14, according to a government news report.

Amendments to the Law on Citizen Identification that allow collection of biometrics passed on November 27 of last year.

The law allows recording of blood type among the DNA-related information that will be contained in a national database to be shared across agencies ‘to perform their functions and tasks.’”

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