US punishes former Vietnamese police officer for human rights violations

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken receives Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, May 13, 2022, in Washington DC.

On December 9, the US State Department punished a former Vietnamese policeman with an entry ban for “blatant” human rights violations. This is the latest move by the US government to protect global human rights, just days after Washington put Hanoi on its “Special Watch List” for violating religious freedom.

On December 9, 2022, the United States Department of State put Mr. Vo Thanh Dung (Vo), a former police officer of the Lagi Town Police, Binh Thuan Province on the list of sanctions under Section 7031(c), for ” his participation in a blatant human rights violation, namely torture, in January 1987.”

The US Department of State banned the entry of Mr. Vo Thanh Dung, former police officer in Lagi, Binh Thuan for human rights violations (

Section 7031(c) provides that in cases where there is reliable information that foreign government officials are involved in serious corruption or serious human rights violations, such individuals and their immediate family members will not be eligible to enter the US.

According to a statement by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Mr. Vo Thanh Dung was among more than 65 individuals and organizations involved in corruption and human rights violations in 17 countries sanctioned by the US on December 9. This list was released by the US Departments of State and Treasury on the occasion of International Anti-Corruption Day on December 9 and International Human Rights Day on December 10.

The United States is taking dozens of actions to promote accountability for corruption and human rights abuses around the world. In doing so, we are using a range of accountability tools, including sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Act and the Department’s section 7031(c) visa restriction mechanism,” Blinken said in a statement.

Vietnam’s  Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Vietnamese Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to VOA’s request for comment. The Binh Thuan provincial Police Department and authorities at all levels in the province have not yet responded.

Previously, on December 2, Secretary Blinken put Vietnam on the “Special Watch List” for committing or harboring violations of religious freedom.

Talking to VOA about the US government’s sanctions against a former official in Binh Thuan, Dr. Nguyen Dinh Thang, director of the US-based BPSOS, said: “The strange thing is that the incident happened in 1987. The US’s sanctions generally apply only to violations of the past five years.”

Mr. Thang added: “Perhaps this is a warning signal rather than a real punishment because Mr. Dung is probably retired by now.” (Translated)