Mr. Mai Phan Loi, who has a lot of experience in the Vietnamese newspaper industry and has a certain influence on the country’s social networks, has just been arrested in Hanoi.
Vietnam’s state-controlled media on July 2 said that the Investigation Police Agency of the Hanoi City Police had issued a decision to probe the case, arresting Mr. Mai Phan Loi on the charge of “tax evasion” under Article 200 of the 2015 Criminal Code.
Mr. Loi (50 years old, born in Thai Binh), is the chairman of the Founding Council cum chairman of the Scientific Council of the Center for Communication and Education of the Community (MEC).
Many years of journalism
He was the deputy secretary general of the editorial office, the head of the representative office of the Ho Chi Minh City Law newspaper in Hanoi.
In June 2016, Mr. Loi’s press card was revoked by the Ministry of Information and Communications.
The decision signed by then Minister of Information and Communications Truong Minh Tuan stated: Revoking the journalist’s card bearing number IBD 00596, term 2016-2020 of Mr. Mai Phan Loi issued at the Ho Chi Minh City Law Newspaper, for violating Item c, Point 9.1, Clause 9, Section II of Circular No. 07/2007/TT-BVHTT dated March 20, 2007 of the Ministry of Culture and Information, as he seriously insulted the honor of the Vietnam People’s Army; causing profound injury to the families, relatives and teammates of the officers and soldiers in trouble while on duty, and damaging the reputation of journalists.
The incident happened after Mr. Loi conducted a poll related to the missing military CASA 212 plane on the Young Journalist forum on Facebook.
In the 2016 US State Department human rights report, there was a passage about Mr. Loi as follows:
“In May and June, the Ministry of Information and Communications and party officials punished Mai Phan Loi, the head of the Hanoi representative office of the Ho Chi Minh City Law newspaper, for meeting foreign leaders and going abroad without permission.”
Nearly two weeks after Mr. Loi met the foreign leader, his superiors summoned him for questioning. On June 20, the Ministry of Information and Communications revoked Mr. Loi’s journalist card, criticizing him for publishing a controversial Facebook poll on the recent crashes of Vietnamese naval aircraft. On June 23, Mr. Loi was fired by the newspaper. Activists say the government punishes Loi because he campaigned for a greater freedom of the press.
Mr. Loi then served as chairman of the Founding Council cum the chairman of the Scientific Council of the Community Education Media Center – MEC.
Regarding the case with Mr. Loi on July 2, the Security Investigation Agency of Hanoi Police Department announced that Mr. Dang Dinh Bach (43 years old, director of the Center for Research on Law and Policy for Sustainable Development) had been arrested and charged with “tax evasion.”