Riots in Vietnam leave 1 Chinese dead, 90 injured

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A man looks at the damaged building of Taiwanese bicycle factory Tan Than 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)

A man looks at the damaged building of Taiwanese bicycle factory Tan Than 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)

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HANOI, Vietnam (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 Thursday, 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, 250 kilometers (155miles) 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 didn’t 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 didn’t “order tough enough action.”

He 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 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 6:00 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 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 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.

Associated Press

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