Friday, Jan 30, 2015Friday, Jan 30, 2015

Foreigners urged to leave Vietnam province after anti-China protests

Published on May 14, 2014 12:34 PM

HANOI - Foreigners working in the Vietnam Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP) were urged to leave Binh Duong province in southern Vietnam, after thousands of native workers went on a rampage, torching factories in protest of Beijing's deployment of an oil drilling rig in disputed waters in South China Sea.

Benjamin, a Singaporean working in a factory at the industrial park in Thuan An district, Binh Duong province, told The Straits Times on Wednesday that all foreign staff have been advised to leave the province for nearby Ho Chi Minh City.

"VSIP officer just called and advised all foreigners to leave Binh Duong Province as the situation is bad n messy," he wrote to The Straits Times on Wednesday morning. VSIP's two industrial parks in the province are run by Singapore's Sembcorp Industries, a public-listed energy, water and marine group. Many Singaporeans work there, according to Benjamin.

But he said he would not leave the province immediately as the situation seemed calm on his way to work this morning.

If you are not a subscriber, you can get instant, unlimited access here

Background story

China and Vietnam are locked in long-standing territorial disputes in the South China Sea over the Paracel and Spratly islands, which both claim. There have been repeated skirmishes near the oil rig in recent days involving vessels from the two countries, with collisions and the use of water cannon.

Vietnamese protesters staged multiple, large anti-China demonstrations Sunday with at least 1,000 people gathering in Hanoi and a similar-sized crowd in Ho Chi Minh City.

Experts say Vietnam’s leadership has allowed some public protests to go ahead as a means of expressing extreme discontent with Beijing.