Wed, Jan 03, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Singapore detains fugitive Vietnam intelligence agent


A fugitive Vietnamese intelligence officer wanted in his homeland for allegedly disclosing state secrets has been arrested in Singapore, his lawyers said yesterday.

Phan Van Anh Vu, who is also a property developer, was detained on Thursday last week at a border checkpoint as he attempted to cross into Malaysia.

Police in Da Nang said that Vu, 42, was being sought for “deliberately revealing state secrets,” but gave no further details.

His lawyer, Remy Choo, said he had met Vu’s family, who had confirmed that “apart from being a property developer, he was also a senior officer in the Vietnamese intelligence services.”

“My client’s family are concerned that there is an imminent risk of repatriation,” Choo said. “I can confirm he has applied for asylum in a European country, but I cannot reveal which country.”

His lawyers have not yet been allowed to see him.

His arrest follows a year in which Vietnamese authorities jailed or arrested scores of former officials, bankers and state executives as part of a sweeping crackdown against corruption, which some observers say is also driven by political infighting.

One of the most high-profile cases involved the alleged kidnapping of a Vietnamese former oil executive in Germany.

Trinh Xuan Thanh was snatched from a Berlin park by Vietnamese security agents in July in a Cold War-style operation that stunned many inside and outside the one-party state.

Vietnamese officials say that Thanh, who is to go on trial this month, returned voluntarily.

Observers say the sweep, which has echoes of China’s graft crackdown, is being led by a conservative leadership in place since last year.

Many believe it is as much about weeding out political enemies as cracking down on graft.

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