Vietnam prison inmates used Facebook in prison, report local media

Vietnam's prison inmates are using Facebok on smartphones that have been smuggled in, reported the Dan Tri newspaper on Friday, Sept 5, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Vietnam's prison inmates are using Facebok on smartphones that have been smuggled in, reported the Dan Tri newspaper on Friday, Sept 5, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

HANOI - Imprisoned in Vietnam? You may still be able to keep in touch with friends and family via social media network Facebook, according to a local news report.

Vietnam's prison inmates are using Facebook on smartphones that have been smuggled in, reported the Dan Tri newspaper on Friday.

The paper published a screenshot of a Facebook account of Nguyen Duc Hung, a prisoner in the Tan Lap prison in Phu Tho province of northern Vietnam, 80km north-west from Hanoi.

His profile showed photos of him wearing black-and-white prison stripes, and also photos of what he said were drugs, together with a status update that said: "Taking drugs in prison"

That post attracted six "likes", according to Dan Tri.

The paper also reported, quoting a police official, that wardens had caught Hung using a smartphone, adding that he had been previously been caught communicating with his wife via the Internet.

Other Facebook profiles showed photos of prisoners drinking tea and even chats between inmates, reported Dan Tri, adding that a profile of another inmate named Sat Thu Tran showed him chatting with his girlfriend.

The girlfriend remarked in the chat that Tran should be jailed forever since his life in jail was apparently very good, according to Dan Tri.

Vietnam's Ministry of Public Security has opened a probe as a response to the revelations, reported the Thanh Nien News on its website.

Ministry official Nguyen Van Ninh confirmed with the Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Friday that the prisoner Nguyen Duc Hung's Facebook profile existed, reported the Thanh Nien News. Mr Ninh also said that Hung was fined for using a cellphone in prison.

The report sparked outrage among netizens like one Dan Tri reader, who commented on the paper's website: "What the hell are police officials doing in this prison?"

A Tan Lap prison official, who declined to be named, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur over the phone that the Facebook accounts were taken down on Friday, adding: "I don't know why these Facebook pages still showed photos of prisoners on Wednesday."