HANOI, Vietnam – Vietnamese police have detained a blogger for posting comments critical of the communist government in the latest crackdown on dissent.
Hong Le Tho, 65, was taken into police custody in southern commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday, the Ministry of Public Security said in a statement posted on its web site. The statement says his house was searched.
It says that Tho posted "online articles with bad content and false information that discredit and create distrust among people about state agencies, social agencies and citizens, under Article 258 of the Penal Code."
His blog "Nguoi Lot Gach" or "A Brick Layer" could not be accessed after he was detained.
Vietnam Network of Bloggers, an independent group in Vietnam, issued a statement protesting Tho's detention.
"Detaining blogger Hong Le Tho is a gross violation of Vietnam's constitution, the UN Convention on Human Rights, brutally trampling on people's freedom of speech and expression," it said, adding that anyone in Vietnam who peacefully expresses their views risks being detained under the vaguely worded security laws.
Tho's detention comes more than a month after prominent blogger Nguyen Van Hai was freed and put on a flight to the United States. Hai's case was mentioned by President Obama.
The U.S. government has urged Vietnam to improve its human rights record.
Tom Malinowski, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for human rights, said on a visit in October that Vietnam had released 12 prisoners of conscience this year but urged the government not to use the vaguely worded security laws to arrest people who peacefully express their views.